November 23, 2009

As soon as I love her it’s been too long

Tonight I am going to be arguably cooler than I usually am on most Monday nights, and go listen to the dramatic and addictive sounds of The Big Pink at Denver’s Larimer Lounge. This duo from London (touring now with a rad female drummer) won NME’s influential Philip Hall Radar Award at the Shockwaves NME Awards in February (for best new group) and have been slowly conquering the world since. With songs like this, I think it’s easy to see why.

Dominoes – The Big Pink

As I’ve listened to their music, I can’t miss the way I hear the second coming of the Stone Roses on lots of their songs (well, I guess third coming since the Stone Roses already did the second one), or those wrenching Verve ballads, blended so pleasingly with this new-wave streak of ice blue cool and massive drumbeats.

big pinkJust off tour with Muse and the Pixies in the UK, The Big Pink are on American soil in support of their album A Brief History Of Love, out on the 4AD label (The National, Mountain Goats, Department of Eagles).

See full tour dates below.

Listening to The Big Pink all week in prep for the show has got me thinking about this perfect triumvirate that I’d love to see booked to play together, because I catch a wonderfully complementary energy from: The Big Pink, NYC’s Violens, and The xx. I’d put them on a bill together because they all blend facets of a retro aesthetic and classic pop song structure, deep under layers of sonic bliss.

So after you listen to The Big Pink, do like I do and enjoy a free Winter Mixtape from the crunchy-sleek icy sounds of Violens, assembled to tide us over while we wait for their full-length debut.

Fullscreen capture 11202009 40006 PMThe band writes, “Violens wanted to help new fans piece together a complete picture of their diverse influences from 60’s pop psychedelia to the slick studio production of 80’s new wave, from punk and metal to the dance club bass they were raised on in Miami… The result is the Winter Mixtape, and it is available for free.” And it’s great.

These two tracks are woven into the free mix:

Lighting Lightning – Violens

Doomed (MGMT remix) – Violens

xxThen –then!!– I am still thoroughly in love with The xx, one of my favorite albums of 2009, so then click over and enjoy this remix they recently did. See! It’s like neapolitan ice cream, all three flavors blend perfectly together.

You’ve Got The Love (XX remix) – Florence And The Machine

Just to be clear, Big Pink is not touring with either The xx or Violens; that is only occurring deep within my imagination, or in yours if you play all the delicious songs in this post and close your eyes, maybe spill a beer on yourself.

Nov 23 – Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
(come early for the DJ set at Twist & Shout!)
Nov 25 – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN (DJ set at Transmission beforehand)
Nov 27 – Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL
Nov 28 – Magic Stick, Detroit, MI
Nov 29 – Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON
Nov 30 – La Salsa Rosa, Montreal, QUE
Dec 1 – Paradise, Boston, MA
(DJ set at Newbury Comics beforehand)
Dec 3 – Bowery Ballroom, NYC, NY
Dec 4 – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Dec 5 – Black Cat, Washington, DC
Dec 6 – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA

(other European tour dates here)

19th Nov – Brixton Academy, London
21st Nov – London Calling Festival, Amsterdam
22nd Nov – Academy, Leeds
23rd Nov – UEA, Norwich
24th Nov – Academy, Sheffield
25th Nov – Rock City, Nottingham
27th Nov – Apollo, Manchester
28th Nov – Academy, Glasgow
29th Nov – Academy, Newcastle
1st Dec – Guildhall, Portsmouth
2nd Dec – Academy, Bristol
4th Dec – University, Cardiff
5th Dec – Academy, Birmingham
9th Dec – Mercury Lounge, NYC

Nov 23 Independent – San Francisco, California
Nov 24 State University – Sacramento, California
Nov 25 Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, Oregon
Nov 26 Richard’s – Vancouver, British Columbia
Nov 27 Neumos – Seattle, Washington
Nov 30 Triple Rock – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dec 1 Bottom Lounge – Chicago, Illinois
Dec 2 Mod Club – Toronto, Ontario
Dec 3 Le National – Montreal, Quebec
Dec 4 Paradise – Boston, Massachusetts
Dec 5 Webster Hall – New York

(Many other worldwide dates here)

June 10, 2009

MGMT makes Violens even more fresh and enjoyable


Today’s aural fixation is the skittering, diving new MGMT remix of the Violens song “Doomed,” which is anything but foreboding in this incarnation.

Undulating and  iridescent, like looking up from the bottom of the clear blue ocean with the sunlight filtering through, this remix ends too quickly for me, after only two and a half dulcet minutes. It’s totally and completely irresistible.

Doomed (MGMT remix) – Violens

The original version appears on their EP (out now through Cantora Records), and you can count me as a fan of what Violens is doing. The first time I heard them I wrote, “Zombies! The Zombies stumble into a very fashionable ’80s club where everyone has long angular bangs cut diagonal in a swoop. The music of Violens strikes me as a little new wave, a little smoky, but with good structural bones and catchy melodies under all the haze.”

SPIN raved (of their single, “Violent Sensation Descends“) : “In 1966, this alternately ominous and sparkly nugget would’ve been the No. 50 British single of the year, after the Creation’s ‘Making Time.’ It’s that good.”



I got an extremely kind mention today in Magnet Magazine from author Nick Hornby, under the guest editor eye of Old 97s’ Rhett Miller. Like whoa! It’s a richly wonderful feeling to be able to give back to someone whose work resonates with you so intensely.

March 16, 2009

Monday (SXSW) Music Roundup


In just over 36 hours I will be in Austin, Tejas for my first SXSW Music Festival. I may be a bit disoriented from my way early AM flight, blinking the bright Texas sunlight. I’ll be planning my musical attack, my strategy for eating BBQ and pacing my drinks. Marathon, not sprint, etc etc.

I was up til past 1 last night trying to scrap together some loose semblance of a schedule of bands I would be interested in seeing. Here are five brand new ones that I’ve not written about before, but that my preliminary scientific midnight musical research indicates that you might like as well.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Just click play. Seriously.

James Brown struts and kicks again in the music of twenty-six year old Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. This 8-piece band from Austin makes music full of things that can’t quite be expressed with words, so there’s a lot of “whoo!”s and “unh“s and fabulous call and responses. Band members also have names like Sleepy Ramirez and Big Show Varley (come on!). Out tomorrow on Lost Highway, Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is is an immense amount of fun and I just know their live show will be also.

Harold T Wilkins

There’s an effervescent shimmer to this song with distinctively David Byrnesian vocals that loop and swirl all over. Hailing from London, Fanfarlo is a band I first read about over on Bruce’s blog full of impeccable SXSW choices. The best way to experience this little gem of a song is absolutely gonna be through the kitschy video that gets it perfectly right, all blocky colors and bright lights with a timewarp gloss. This tune is one side of a split 7″ with Sleeping States, and will also be on their forthcoming full-length. Brilliant.

jack-oblivianNight Owl
Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers

Okay, wow. One thing I’ve enjoyed about prepping to go to this festival is that everyone I meet seems to have a suggestion about that band that I must see. When someone actually recommends a band called Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers (which happened at the Blitzen Trapper show Thursday), I’m inclined to listen just because of that blessedly wonderful name. Heck I want to be in that band. SPIN Magazine called Jack Yarber (Oblivian) “arguably the finest rock talent Memphis has produced since Alex Chilton,” and his music runs the crazy gamut from garage to classic pop to Chuck Berry soundalikes. His new album The Disco Outlaw is out on May 5 on Goner Records. Do the skate.

Mango Tree
angus-juliaAngus and Julia Stone

This sibling duo from Sydney, Australia has composed a stirringly lovely folk album of delicate harmonies and slowburn arrangements. Angus & Julia Stone‘s distinctive voices (his fragile and clear, hers brassy and sometimes childlike) fit together flawlessly, the result of a childhood spent singing camp-song harmonies. They recorded their 2007 Hollywood EP at the house of Fran Healy (of Travis), and he produced their debut full-length A Book Like This, released a few weeks ago on EMI.

violensViolent Sensation Descends

Zombies! The Zombies stumble into a very fashionable ’80s club where everyone has long angular bangs cut diagonal in a swoop. The music of Violens strikes me as a little new wave, a little smoky, but with good structural bones and catchy melodies under all the haze. This New-York-via-Miami four piece has a self-titled EP in stores tomorrow, and one year-end list of ’08 said, “In 1966, this alternately ominous and sparkly nugget would’ve been the No. 50 British single of the year, after the Creation’s ‘Making Time.’ It’s that good.”

And sweetheavens do you even know how many other bands I am trying to find a way to cram into my happy schedule? In a perfect world where I could clone additional little Heather Brownes to run around to shows for me, some of the folks I would like to see include:

Ben Sollee, The Boat People, Ume, M. Ward, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Starfucker, Ladyhawke, The Donkeys, Department of Eagles, Dan Auerbach, Avett Brothers, Haley Bonar, Radioclit, Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves, Sky Larkin, Hymns, Justin Townes Earle, The Rural Alberta Advantage, The Hold Steady, Afterhours, The Features, Grizzly Bear, Laura Gibson, Lisa Hannigan, Tori Amos (!!), These United States, Thao Nguyen And The Get Down Stay Down, The Soft Pack, BLK JKS, Emily Wells, Blind Pilot, Henry Clay People, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Lucero, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Pretty & Nice, Primal Scream, Beach House, Handsome Furs, Harlem Shakes, Here We Go Magic, The Low Anthem, Waz, The Postelles, Madi Diaz, The Ettes, Scissors For Lefty, The Felice Brothers, Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers, Tinted Windows, Future Clouds & Radar, Okkervil River, Explosions In The Sky, Deadstring Brothers, Ezra Furman & The Harpoons, Zee Avi, Say Hi, Voxtrot, and Superdrag (who has a new video and new guest blogging duties). Whew. And I’m not even done going through the calendar yet.

I’m on it.

[header image via]

Subscribe to this tasty feed.
I tweet things. It's amazing.

Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

View all Interviews → View all Shows I've Seen →