Amy worked in the record business at Enigma, Elektra, Virgin and Sub Pop before she got sucked into the technology vortex. She co-founded the Backwards Beekeepers, a chemical-free urban beekeeping collective in Los Angeles. She runs digital marketing for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Hollywood Bowl.
I'm still mad that Young Knives' fantastic last record Ornaments from the Silver Arcade never got released in the U.S. (though we featured a song from it). They've been doing a lot of experimenting with ambient sound recording and have even created a custom synthesizer from all of the sounds they gathered. Their extremely entertaining Kickstarter campaign invites you to contribute towards the completion of their forthcoming album Sick Octave. You can get everything from a download of the record to one of the aforementioned custom synths for your contribution. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of supporting true artists who are going it alone.
Sound it Out # 47: The Shouting Matches - “Avery Hill” (MP3)
Do you, like me, have a secret love for straight-ahead 70’s rock? If so, that means we can enjoy together the blues guitar and gruff vocals of The Shouting Matches.
The singer and songwriter of The Shouting Matches is Justin Vernon, who you probably know better as the frontman for Bon Iver. He’s busy with a wide variety of musical projects including the collective known as Gayngs, and is featured on a few Poliça songs (including this brand new one). The Shouting Matches played their first show nearly seven years ago, but have just now released their debut record. It’s called Grownass Man and it’s a shit ton of fun.
Go ahead and download “Avery Hill” by The Shouting Matches below.
Library Lab posted about World Book Night applications a couple of months ago and it's coming up tomorrow. According their website, "World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. In 2012, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany."
This is just a reminder to watch out for rogue book givers in your community. It's called World Book Night, but book giving happens all day on April 23. You might want to keep an eye on @wbnamerica or #WorldBookNight or #WBN2013 to follow the action.
Sound it Out # 45: Charles Bradley - “Strictly Reserved for You” (MP3)
Soul singer Charles Bradley has a lot of feelings, and it's not hard to see why: he's lived on the street, discovered his brother’s murdered body, and spent most of his 64 years as a James Brown impersonator, all while dreaming of recording his own music. His songs teem with the incredible anguish of his life, and his gratitude for its turnaround. Bradley has only seen success in the last few years, and his deep love for his life and fans is apparent. I’ve never seen someone give so much of himself on stage; he will actually burst into tears while wailing “I love you” and thanking the audience when he performs. It's irresistible.
Victim of Love is Charles Bradley’s excellent new album (out today!), and it sounds like a classic soul record with some sneaky psychedelic overtones. Charles has agreed to share this free download of the first single “Strictly Reserved for You” with us. Take a listen, know that Charles loves you, and head over to a record retailer to show your love right back.
We featured Django Django's first single over a year ago. The record came out in the U.S. in October and is still going strong. "WOR" is their 7th video from their self-titled debut, and is a mesmerizing peek into the lives of daredevils drivers at a fair in Allahabad.
Go see the band live - they're fun, charming,extremely talented and have the biggest tambourine you've ever seen. I highly recommend it - tour dates here.
Clam Lynch is a wildly-creative artist and actor...and therefore terminally broke. He’s also a dad who is trying to raise enough cash to move from San Francisco to Utah to help his daughter Eloise get set up for college. He’s selling custom-printed and numbered tote bags to help finance their journey. Bids start at $20 for these fine-looking bags.
The new Beach House video for "Wishes" was directed by Eric Wareheim (Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) and features Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Reaper, classic 70's TV), horses & fireworks. It takes place during a sort of demented halftime show. It's fantastic.
Junip is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden, comprising members Elias Araya, Tobias Winterkorn, and José González. Though their first EP came out way back in 2005, they are only now releasing their second full-length album, Junip, which arrives on April 23rd. Singer/guitarist González’ much-lauded solo career has kept him away from the band for big chunks of time. It's been worth the wait.
Junip's new single “Line of Fire” is an atmospheric gem. Whispery vocals, exotic percussion and an overall ominous tone make for a highly addictive song. Download/listen below.
I'm going to be cooking a dinner featuring locally-produced honey at canelé restaurant in LA next Tuesday, February 19. The restaurant has a program called "Friends Cook", where they invite neighborhood pals to cook a special menu at the restaurant. Here's how they describe it:
Every so often on a Tuesday night we share our kitchen with some special folks for our popular "friends cook at canelé." These pals, ranging from experienced chefs to absolute newbies, conceive, prep, and cook to order a 3 course prix-fixe menu with the advice and assistance of our chef, cooks, and servers.
Here's the menu:
SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD with dates, toasted walnuts & Stilton, and a honey vinaigrette
SMOKY HONEY-CURED SALMON* slow roasted and served with white beans & cavolo nero
SPICY GINGER/HONEY CAKE WITH HONEY GELATO Feral Honey gelato from Pazzo Gelato in Silver Lake
* Vegetarian option: pasta with white beans & cavolo nero
I'll be curing the salmon next Sunday morning, then cold-smoking it with alder wood that night. We'll slow roast it to order at Canelé on Tuesday. It's a long process, but with a super-delicious result.
It'll be really fun and a great opportunity to watch me burn myself. I'd love to see you there if you happen to be in LA!
Sound it Out # 42: Helado Negro - “Dance Ghost”(MP3)
Helado Negro is the musician alter ego of the visual/experimental artist Roberto Carlos Lange.He’s the son of Ecuadorian immigrants who grew up in South Florida and now lives in Savannah, Georgia. The music of Helado Negro (translation: Black Ice Cream) is a moody mish-mash of samples and rhythms that evokes the haunted mood of a David Lynch movie. Helado Negro’s fourth album is called Invisible Life and will be out March 5.
Meanwhile, Lange has a commissioned live performance coming up on February 23 at the Savannah College of Art & Design. It’s called Brain Finger Composition and includes sounds that members of the Savannah arts community uploaded to Google Voice. He will also conduct a 10-piece orchestra by connecting each musician to one of his fingers with a piece of yarn.
“Dance Ghost” is one of the first songs that Helado Negro has sung in English. It has a haunting, languid tone that you can imagine being an ideal soundtrack for a sticky Georgia/Florida/Ecuador summer night. Download it below.
What’s changed: They’ve added bassist & multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson (Blood Brothers, Fleet Foxes) and are now a 4-piece. The new record sounds lusher and includes some new sounds (background singers! reverb! flute solos!).
What hasn’t changed: The Cave Singers continue to sound like nobody else. There’s an intense rural feeling to their music that feels like a moonshine-soaked porch sing-along.
Their fourth album is called Naomi and is out March 5, but you can pre-order it here and download it next week.
The band has given us a free download of “Easy Way” for two days only, so grab it now. I also highly recommend seeing them when they tour the U.S. in the spring. You’ll be glad you did.
On the rare occasion, a dreamy, jangly, coming-of-age pop song can make me dance like a moron in the kitchen.
Download “Teenage”, put down the knife, press play, and behold the power of London’s Veronica Falls as you shake your thing. Their second album Waiting for Something to Happen is out on February 12 and is full of angsty gems like this.
Sound it Out # 39: Guided by Voices - “She Lives in an Airport ”(MP3)
Dayton, Ohio’s legendary Guided by Voices broke up in 2004. Over the course of a 21-year run they’d gone through numerous personnel changes, with singer and main songwriter Robert Pollard as the only consistent player throughout.
Pollard reunited the band's mid-'90s lineup in 2010 and released three albums in 2012: Let’s Go Eat the Factory (January), Class Clown Spots a UFO (June) and The Bears for Lunch (November). All three records have classic Guided by Voices attributes: hilarious song titles (“How I Met My Mother”, “Worm with 7 Broken Hearts”, “Finger Gang”), hard-to-tolerate noisy parts, and extremely catchy and well-crafted rock music.
Much has been written about how GBV and Robert Pollard could release flawless albums with some self-editing and higher production values. Maybe that’s true, but it’s missing the point. Robert Pollard is deeply compelled to produce copious amounts of music, and part of being a fan is listening to all of it.
That said, I think The Bears for Lunch is the best and most consistent release of current-era Guided by Voices. The clever and tender turns of phrase in “She Lives in an Airport” make me believe that there is no more talented songwriter than Robert Pollard. He makes me want to quote lyrics, which is something I’ve vowed never to do in music writing.
Check out "She Lives in an Airport" in the free download below, and then dig in to all three albums from 2012 right away; true to form, Guided by Voices has a new record called English Little League coming out sometime in the first half of 2013.