Here we have a rather eclectic winter playlist. Starts out a little folky, moves to some chamber pop, then to some more electronic sounding songs. Some of these tunes are old favorites, some are new favorites, but of course all fantastic. Hope you enjoy!
This year brought lots of phenomenal shows out on the road. Touring is becoming so important for an artist’s livelihood, so be sure to keep an eye on tour schedules and go see all of these guys this year… they put on some incredible live shows.
1. Other Lives
3. Sufjan Stevens
4. Active Child
5. Kishi Bashi
7. Punch Brothers
8. The Antlers
9. Sharon Van Etten
10. The Shins
Today when I checked into the Twittersphere, all sorts of good things were happening- here are just a couple of my favorite announcements for today-
•Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie announced today that he’ll be releasing his debut solo album Former Lives out on October 16 in the US. Check out a snippet from Stereogum’s interview with Mr. Gibbard about the upcoming album. Some of Death Cab For Cutie’s best albums have revolved around lyrics containing heartbreak, and it seems as though Ben Gibbard/ Death Cab fans everywhere are assuming this will be Ben’s breakup album from his marriage with Zooey Deschanel, but maybe Ben will take it in a different direction than we think…
•The Antler’s new EP Undersea is due out on July 24, but today they posted the entire EP on their Facebook page so everyone can stream it. Just “Like” their page and you’re in- listen here.
•Thom Yorke’s side project, Atoms For Peace (consisting of Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nigel Godrich, engineer, producer and musician) is releasing a new single digitally and on vinyl. The first side of the vinyl single will be a remix of their song ”Other Side”, and the flipside will be their remix of Other Lives’ song “Tamer Animals”. Other Lives is an excellent band (read my review of one of their shows here), and this remix certainly puts a very different spin on their orchestral folk tunes. Hear the Other Lives single over at Pitchfork.
When you first hear Other Lives music, you might think they emerged straight from the woods of the northwest with all of their folky and orchestral tendencies, but in actuality, they’re just a couple friends hailing from Stillwater, Oklahoma, a town of 45,000.
In the past couple months, Other Lives has been high on my list of newly discovered music. They’ve got a big full orchestral sound, remnant of Bon Iver’s self-titled album, and the folk leanings of Fleet Foxes.
You can certainly hear that fullness on their latest album Tamer Animals, but seeing it played out live is an entirely different experience.
I had the privilege of seeing them earlier this week at The Gramophone, a venue here in St. Louis that has a capacity of about 200-300. A lot of the time when I go to smaller shows such as this one, it’s not for a band I’m absolutely in love with yet, but this time around I was very familiar with their music and got to stand about three feet away from the band as they unravelled their tunes one by one. Seeing bands live usually doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion.
Most bands have just one multi-instrumentalist, or that “one guy” who plays everything, while the rest stick with their guitar or the drums, but everyone played at least two instruments. Jenny, their [mainly] cello player pulled out clappers at one point, antlers with bells attached, played the xylophone, among other things, and throughout the show other band members played trumpets, guitars, violins, bells, a timpani, lap steel guitar, bass guitar, several keyboards, harmonica…you name it and it was probably there.
When a band has such a large inventory of instruments, I think it really allows them to make a fuller sound and more complex sounds as well. Although they have a fairly traditional indie band feel, there were many times I felt as though I was watching a conductor direct his orchestra. Jesse would queue the drums, or the cymbal clash, motioning everyone with his hands and making mini hand gestures at the moment the sounds came in. It certainly solidified the cohesiveness of the band, and although Jesse brings most of the central ideas to the table and acts as “director” for the band, it’s so very evident that Other Lives is a very collaborative effort, with each band member contributing their ideas.
These friends who originally just got together to jam in a small town in Oklahoma are now out headling on their own, and will soon be on tour opening for Radiohead to sold-out stadiums throughout the United States in March. If this isn’t any indication of how incredible they are, I’m not quite sure what is.
Here’s a short clip I took during the show of their song “Dust Bowl lll”.
Fun Fact: Jesse Tabish used to be a member of The All-American Rejects. We should all rejoice in the fact that he dropped out of that endeavor and went on to bigger and better things with Other Lives.
Iron & Wine- Glad Man Singing (from Daytrotter-January 12, 2011)
Do you guys know Daytrotter? Do you? If not…it is time.
In the past six years, Daytrotter’s growth has been pretty remarkable. Through their success they have helped many bands expose their music to an audience that is constantly growing. This audience is filled with eager music fans ready to listen to new bands, old bands, or bands they’ve wanted to listen to, but haven’t yet had the chance to do so.
Daytrotter’s recording studio and headquarters are located in northwestern Illinois, so a lot of the bands that have hit up Chicago in the last couple years have also hit up Daytrotter to record a couple songs live. After the band records, Daytrotter does all the technical stuff like engineering and converting the songs to MP3…then eventually releases the session.
Often times, Daytrotter is the reason I end up buying an album. And then sometimes when I buy the album, or hear it on Spotify, I end up liking the Daytrotter sessions more.
If you haven’t check out Daytrotter yet, a couple of my favorite sessions are Iron & Wine (Sample song above. Probably my all time favorite thus far.), Typhoon, The Tallest Man On Earth, Other Lives, and S. Carey.