I Went to the Fleetwood Mac Show Last Night and All I Got Was a Nosebleed, Overpriced Beer, and a New-Found Appreciation for Christine McVie
I also got this shitty iPhone photo that was so shitty it couldn’t even be saved by an Instagram filter!
First and foremost–this is not a review. Secondly–I enjoyed the show. It was, oh yes I know, “once in a lifetime.” Also, I, like everyone else in the room, fell in love with Stevie Nicks all over again (but I already predicted that one) and secretly wanted her and Lindsey Buckingham to fall in love again, too. Will they? Won’t they? Will they? (They wont.) Nevertheless, their chemistry is palpable. But enough about them, THIS IS ABOUT CHRISTINE MCVIE.
- No I did not actually get a nosebleed (but my $100+ nosebleed section tickets made my wallet bleed, so)
- I could’ve bought a hip, trendy* jacket from Value Village for the price of that beer on tap (*varying opinions on actual “hipness” and “trendiness” of said imaginary jacket)
- I really did get a new-found appreciation for Christine McVie
She was sorely missed at the ACC last night. I mean, you really can’t beat that superstar Rumours-era lineup of Fleetwood, Buckingham, Nicks, and McVie-squared. ”Everywhere” is my favourite song at the moment, and of course they didn’t play it last night because HOW COULD THEY without Christine McVie?
I’m obsessed with this song. Like, Janis Ian obsessed. Like, Regina-George-kinda-sorta-definitely-made-the-right-decision-not-inviting-me-to-her-pool-party obsessed. I play it in the morning when I’m brushing my teeth; I play it and sing along when I really should be studying; I play it in on my iphone speakers when I’m on the toilet (sorry not sorry); I play it on repeat in the car via my iphone when I’m driving–and that, my friends, takes True Dedication. (My van is so old it doesn’t have an audio jack so I have to use a cassette hookup that makes a horrid “clackclackclaaaaaaaack” noise every 7 seconds.) ((I’m immune to it now.))
“Say You Love Me”? “Don’t Stop”? “You Make Loving Fun”? All. Christine. McVie. That woman does not get enough credit, so I’m giving her a shout out right now. Christine, I love you. It was really cool how you made a surprise appearance performing with Steven Tyler (!!) and the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band in Maui, Hawaii in February. I’m glad you got on that plane. Really cool. Very cool. Appreciate you, girl. Miss you, too.
Traffique is the closeted lesbian alter ego of out gay man, Edward Miller, a musical project of Redding Hunter who performs under the moniker, Peter and the Wolf.
Did you catch that?
[LISTEN]: Peter and the Wolf – “New Shooz”
The man behind the music is Austin, Texas’s Redding Hunter. And yes, he dresses in drag when he performs as Traffique. “New Shooz” is a delightfully lighthearted electro-pop track that’s a bit psychedelic. If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine a not-so-closeted Traffique emerging slowly from a behind a blanket of pink smoke, vogue-ing montage-style amid cutaways and quick flashes.
The whole story, according to the official site:
traffique’s endless weekend mixtape is the story of a well-adjusted gay man, Edwin Miller, who discovers he’s leading a second life late at night, sleepwalking down dark alleyways in drag, looking for intrigue. His other self, Traffique, is a closeted lesbian, a sexually repressed librarian-type, who sneaks out into the underworld each night self-actualizing all the way down her own vortex of trouble.
Hurray for breaking gender norms and conventions!
In my second life I’m a genderqueer pansexual criminal lawyer come go-go dancer who goes by the name of Kikki Cola, and this my anthem. Holla!
[DOWNLOAD]: P.S. I just realized that traffique’s endless weekend mixtape is actually up for download at the sweet price of “name your price” aka. pay-what-you-want, meaning you can grab it on the spectrum of free to $5 billion. The important part is to spread the music: play it obnoxiously loud through your headphones on the subway until people stare, force/beg/bribe friends to let you be the dj at the next party, announce that you’d like one of the tracks on the album (preferably “almost free” or “get weird”–and then pull out the hat trick “koala hat”–to be played at your funeral alongside Kylie Minogue’s “Come Into My World”), etc. etc. etc. You get the picture. Share with your friends.
“I thought about you, because I always think about you.”
[MP3]: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”
Languid, hazy, lilting and lulling are few adjectives that can be used to describe the music Molly Hamilton, Michael Stasiak, and Robert Thomas craft on Harsh Realm / Burnout 7″ (released on Captured Tracks); however, they’d still be insufficient. For me, it’s the solemn and somewhat cinematic feeling “Harsh Realm” evokes. You can easily imagine it being played in the background of a film scene where a heartbroken is lover is walking lonesome the midnight streets with quick cuts to car headlights and stumbling feet and dirty streets.
“It can wait. Everything else can wait. We sleep in. We sleep in late.”
Perfect for those humid summer nights in college kid housing with no AC, “Burnout” is a slow burn with Molly’s breathy vocals whispering the lethargy the lyrics speak of. It’s all about those lazy days when lying in bed is the best option, because nothing really matters in that moment but the feel of your head on the pillow and your legs between the sheets. Sounds like my theme song.
[WATCH]: Widowspeak – “Burnout” (made with scenes from Jack Cardiff’s The Girl On A Motorcycle)
Yes, I will admit that sometimes I will search up a musician just because their cover art or album title intrigues me. It’s a superficial method, but hey, I’ve stumbled across many of my favourite artists this way.
It happened again a couple days ago. Pitchfork did me a solid when I happened across the cover art for Des Ark‘s sophomore album Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker along with a review (which I didn’t bother to read) while I was browsing the site for the first time in a long time.
Aimée Argote has been making music under the Des Ark moniker for a decade along with a rotating cast of band members throughout the years. Compared to the more jammy and abrasive punk-influenced rock the then-duo’s 2005 debut LP, Loose Lips Sink Ships, the sophomore effort is much more pristine and polished with mellow and introspective moments that are undercut by sudden bursts of instrumental clamour.
I’d describe it sort of like when you’re listening to Manchester Orchestra albums and there are quiet songs that focus on Andy Hull’s warbling lament and then suddenly there’s this intense break and it turns to a frenzy of energy and drums and guitar. The energy that Des Ark gives off is kind of like that. Argote isn’t a background music type of artist.
Song titles like “FTW Y’all!!!” and “If By Gay You Mean Totally Fucking Awesome, Then Yeah, I Guess It’s Pretty Gay” are highly entertaining and effectively attention-grabbing, but it’s Aimée Argote’s voice that keeps that attention.
[LISTEN]: Des Ark – “My Saddle Is Waitin’ (C’mon Jump On It)” (Live)
Vulnerable and quivering as she bends and stretches her syllables (which is especially evident in the album recording), she’s one of the artists whose tracks you need to listen and re-listen to just to decipher the lyrics and even then you’re never completely sure you’ve got them correct.
“Oh to be perfect for the ones we love. I gave it a shot, but I am not and I never was. If I keep dragging all these anchors across my scars, I ain’t never gonna heal at all.”
Argote’s completely upfront and honest, lyrically, so listening to “Two Hearts Are Better Than One” almost made me cry. (Granted, I’m a pretty sentimental person, but still.)
“I got this anchor on my finger now. I got your blood pumping through my veins and still somehow when I am with you, dear, I cannot breath. I gave my heart, but then you took my lungs from me”
[WATCH]: Des Ark – “Two Hearts Are Better Than One” (Live)
They say the best things in life are free, and in the case of Coma Cinema, that saying holds up.
Mat Cothran, the guy behind this gem of a music find, equates music to something like oxygen, saying that it would be ridiculous to charge for the air we breathe so why charge for something as vital as music?
Accordingly, all three of Coma Cinema’s full-length records are available for free download on
the official band website (he recently retired that .org, so now you can download all the albums on his bandcamp). What sets Cothran apart from other musicians who do the pay-what-you-want thing (which is effectively a “free” download since the majority opt not to pay) is that he doesn’t even accept donations, stating on his page that “If you feel the need to compensate us, we only ask that you share the music with others.”
I don’t know what it was about this song that made me stop and focus into it as I mindlessly went through Coma Cinema’s catalog while studying for exams. Maybe it was the simplicity of the instrumentation with its lowly guitar picking or maybe it was the barely above a whisper talk-singing or maybe it was just the fact that it was a mere minute and a half long and thus able to keep my short attention span.
Or it could have been the fact that he said, “I am not afraid…even my fear’s in love with you,” and I thought it was simple and mundane yet startlingly beautiful and incredibly profound all at once.
Either way, I’ve been listening to it on repeat.
[MP3]: Coma Cinema – “Daffodils” (from Baby Prayers)
“Daffodils” hooked me in after a second listen. It didn’t stop my in my tracks like “Monica,” but I’ll chalk it up to my absentminded listening habits. The collage of sounds–especially the contrast of the clean guitar picking layered over the gritty feedback noise (?)–creates an intriguing backstory to the muffled vocals.
Coma Cinema’s tracks are catchy and only last an average of about 2 minutes or so, so I can guarantee that you’ll be listening to each record on repeat, wishing they were longer. (I know I have!) Cothran’s DIY mentality (not so much his music) reminds me a little of Oberhofer, if comparisons had to be made.
The vocals aren’t perfect and the recordings are hazy with noise and the drums are reminiscent of garage jamming, but I think that’s the point. It’s music for the sake of music, not for profit or anything else; it music made out of necessity because it’s begging to come out.
[DOWNLOAD]: Head on over to comacinema.bandcamp.com!
The moment I saw that We Are Trees had a song entitled “Dear Chan Marshall,” I was all ‘hell yeah, I’m up for the ride.’ (I’m a huge Cat Power fan and any reference to her will get me giddy.) That fact alone, for me, warranted them a listen–and I was not disappointed. (more…)
I’m in the middle of writing an essay, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to share Angel Olsen with everyone. I’m a little late to the party on this one as she released her debut cassette (yes, cassette–you read right) Strange Cacti via Bathetic Records last year, but I don’t even care; I’m just happy I found her.
“Creator, you destroy me. You know my hunger well and yet you starve me until I’m begging on my knees.”
Sometimes you just feel it–a connection, an emotion, a surprisingly familiarity–when you listen to a new musician for the first time. I felt it when I heard Angel Olsen. It was something I felt when I first listened to Joni Mitchell (the two are nothing are alike, but still), Sharon Van Etten, and Marissa Nadler. There’s this innate and immediate understanding, and it’s ever so beautiful.
Her sound is lo-fi and organic and effortlessly sincere; everything’s raw. There’s a throwback feel almost as if these recordings were made in the 60s and resurrected. “Some Things Cosmic” sounds like something your grandparents might have listened to.
BUY: STRANGE CACTI 12″
All I have to say is, thank the Lord for NPR! Bored and on a “study break” last week (who am I kidding, the whole day was a long study break), I thought I’d check out some new World Cafe Sessions on NPR, and lo and behold there was feature on the Best Sessions of 2010. So of course, I downloaded it. I already knew of the other artists featured (Beach House, Phosphorescent, Ray Lamontagne, Minus the Bear), but I thought I’d check out some band called Villagers anyway. Because, you know, I’ll give a listen to almost anything on NPR at least once.
Well, my friends, I’m glad I did. From the opening guitar strumming to the ubiquitous folk “ooohs,” I knew I’d at least think the song was alright. But when his voice came in and the lyrics hit, “Twenty-Seven Strangers” had me frozen in a state of rapture (I kid you not) (more…)
You will like her if you like: Land of Talk, crunchy guitars, Epic-phase Sharon Van Etten, ominous sounds, Rosie Thomas
[MP3]: Little Scream – “Heron and the Fox” (right-click, save as)
“I told the stripper at the bar that the shots we got were magic. Make a wish and they’ll come true. As she smiled, her golden tooth glinted in the light, and I wondered what she wished for; I just wished for you.”
I haven’t posted in a while, because school’s been swallowing me up whole, so I thought I’d make a short post with a track I’m currently obsessed with. “Heron and the Fox” is one Little Scream’s more mellow tracks, with barely above a whisper vocals and guitar picking contributed by none other than Aaron Dessner of The National. How could it get any better, right? You can click here to listen to her two other tracks: the fervent “Cannon” and ominous woodland aura of “The Lamb.”
A Montreal transplant from Mississippi, Little Scream (aka Laurel Sprengelmeyer) is about to release her debut full-length, The Golden Record (due out April 12 via Outside Music/Secretly Canadian). According to the press release, the record is brimming with the golden touch (ha ha) of local talent:
“Co-produced with Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre), The Golden Record features Little Scream on guitar, vocals, violin, and keyboard. In typical Montreal fashion, it showcases a healthy slice of local talent including Richard Parry, Mike Fuerstack (Snailhouse), Becky Foon (Silver Mt. Zion), Patty McGee (Stars), and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre).”
The next couple months will be extra busy as she starts touring in support of the release. In February she will be doing a short tour of Toronto and its neighboring cities with Julie Doiron. Then in March, Little Scream will play a CMW (Canadian Music Week) showcase, a couple shows with Plants & Animals, and then head stateside for SXSW. Right after that, she’ll be touring with Sharon Van Etten.
I could’ve easily listed Sprengelmeyer as another artist “On the Verge” this year, but I opted for this shorter version instead (though it grew into a long post anyway); either way, count her in and file her under “Ones to Watch”–she will definitely making waves. Check out her tour dates below!
Tour Dates (more…)
I have no idea how I’ve just now discovered Brooklyn-based School of Seven Bells, formerly a trio consisting of Benjamin Curtis and identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. (Claudia announced her departure from the band on Oct. 12 via SVIIB’s facebook.) It’s okay, though. Sometimes I like being a little late to the game, because it means I have an entire back-catalogue to check out. In their case, it’s 2 LPs (Alpinisms and Disconnect From Desire, respectively) and 1 EP (Heart Is Strange).
Their sound creates a lush, and sometimes cacophonous (“Bye Bye Bye”), electric dreamscape of layers atop lilting harmonies and an assured drumbeat. For lack of better terms, their music has been described as dream-pop, shoegaze, and of course electronic–but it’s really up to you to decide. For a number of other free legal downloads of their music, check out their RCRDLBL page. (Their remixes are especially good.)
They’ve also recently released the creepy/sexy/eerie music video for “I L U” (from Disconnect From Desire), which can be viewed below. Should I be crying or should I be creeped out–I don’t really know. But it takes the phrase “love even in death” in literal terms. It’s actually kind of sweet.
[MP3]: School of Seven Bells – “Conjurr” (from Alpinisms) [right-click, save as]
[MP3]: School of Seven Bells – “Bye Bye Bye” (from Disconnect From Desire)
HOMETOWN: Long Island, New York
LINEUP: Eric Cardona (guitar/vox), Gabel D’Amico (bass), Andrea Estella (vox), Dev Gupta (keyboard), Bryan Ujueta (drums)
SOUNDS LIKE: Rhythmic rolling body waves captured in a bottle of glass shards
Without a doubt, Long Island quintet Twin Sister has stolen my heart (and my ears) today. And now as the sun is beginning to set, this band’s music is just what I need to ease me into the still and quiet evening while I furiously pen some poetry for my class tomorrow. Andrea Estella’s voice is sometimes buried beneath a wall of fuzzy reverb and tinny guitar (“Ginger”), and sometimes it’s sweet, drawn out, and lingering in the foreground backed by atmospheric swells and swoons (“Dry Hump”). And when Eric Cardona shares vocals at times, they create some light harmonies that make the tips of my fingers tingle (see video below).
Twin Sister translates their “wall of small” (what they sound like, according to their Myspace) recordings as well as their more sparse tunes surprisingly well in a live setting, so go and download their Daytrotter Session (free!) for your sonic pleasure and listen for yourself!
[MP3]: Twin Sister – “Ginger” (right-click, save as)
I’ve been listening to L.A.-based girl troupe, Warpaint‘s latest track “Undertow” nonstop as of late. With multiple vocal tracks bleeding into each amidst of river of reverb, they sound like hipster ghosts (yeah, I just made that up). With only 2009′s Exquisite Corpse EP under their belt, the quartet has already landed themselves the opening spot on the xx’s current tour. They play Toronto’s Massey Hall tomorrow night (Sept. 29)!
Their debut full-length, The Fool, comes out October 26 via Rough Trade.
“Now I’ve got you in the undertow,” they sing on the track, and they’ve definitely got me.
[MP3]: Warpaint – “Undertow” (right click, save as)
@ Madrid, Spain
If you haven’t heard of Lourdes Hernandez aka Russian Red, it’s probably because she’s also fairly new in her hometown of Madrid, Spain. She only has one release to her name: 2008′s I Love Your Glasses. And honestly, I have no idea how I stumbled upon this gem of a singer-songwriter last year, but I’m glad I did. There’s something very distinct about her voice. If you’ve heard it once, it’s immediately recognizable. It might have to do with Hernandez’s accent or the quirky way she stretches and bends her voice. While Russian Red’s sound might not be to everyone’s liking (some mind find it a tad grating like Joanna Newsom’s voice), if she suits your tastes, you’ll love her.
I’ve been listening her new track, “Loving Strangers,” non-stop since I got my hands on it. It’s probably my favourite track of hers (I love its subtleties), and I think it’s on the soundtrack to Habitación En Roma (A Room In Rome).
[MP3]: Russian Red – “Loving Strangers” (right click, save as)
EDIT: I recently had the chance to have a quick Q&A with Russian Red. Check it out here!
*KEEP READING: Russian Red – “Loving Strangers” LYRICS (after the jump!)