Archive for the ‘Obsessed’ Category

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

June 30, 2009

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I was first introduced to the music of the Dirty Projectors a while ago but in all honesty the music didn’t really stick until I saw them perform earlier this year when they opened up for Dan Deacon at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.

As they performed I found myself intrigued but mostly confused. This wasn’t easy music to like but at the same time there were wonderful elements to be found including complex layers of vocal sounds as well as beautiful rhythms and harmonies.

A few months ago they released a collaborative song with David Byrne called Knotty Pine which was part of the Dark Was The Night compilation. With that song I became slowly but surely obsessed with their surprising yet very engaging brand of indie and experimental rock music.

Now comes their latest effort, Bitte Orca, which is even better than I expected and is definitely a good point of entry into their varied and unique output. It’s a great album from start to finish and I also love the album art shown above, it’s very simple yet eye-catching and memorable.

I will warn you that this isn’t an easy listen, the music is challenging at many points and takes time to grow on you. Listen to the album a few times on many occasions before putting it aside and deciding that it isn’t for you.

Two of my favorite tracks on the new album are Stillness is the Move and Two Doves which comes right after. Two Doves is probably the most straightforward song on the album but also the most beautiful and haunting. It features just one female voice with a simple guitar and some mellow string arrangements. I’ve been listening to it on repeat quite a bit and haven’t tired of it yet.

To get an idea of their sound, go to the Dirty Projectors’ MySpace page which includes a few tracks from various albums as well as the David Byrne collaboration, Knotty Pine.

If you are in New York, Dirty Projectors will be playing a free show at the Williamsburg Waterfront on July 19th.

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Lykke Li

May 5, 2008

The number of Swedish artists I’ve been listening to over the past few years keeps growing. It’s almost out of control. I’m beginning to think that there is something in the milk over there.

With El Perro Del Mar, José González, I’m From Barcelona, The Knife, Peter Bjorn & John and especially Jens Lekman, I can’t seem to get enough Swedish music.

I’m now obsessed with another Swedish singer, this time it’s Lykke Li. Her debut album Youth Novels is out now and there are a bunch of songs I can’t get enough of.

Little Bit is a great track with an infectious pop beat (and seriously sexy lyrics). Combine that with Lykke Li’s sugary sweet voice and it’s bound to get you moving.

The absolute stand out song on the album though is Dance, Dance, Dance. If it doesn’t make you want to dance then you’ve got problems. The layered beats and gorgeous vocal harmonies play out nicely and eventually a saxophone chimes in. Before you know it, the song ends with what I can only describe as a Paul Simonesque Caribbean tinged Calypso sound. It’s all quite unexpected and lovely.

Listen to more songs on her MySpace page and download an earlier song called Tonight from her website.

Lykke Li performs this Wednesday and Thursday in New York City opening for El Perro Del Mar. Unfortunately both shows are sold out but one can always try Craigslist.

Kings Of Convenience

January 11, 2008

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I’ve been obsessively listening to a Kings of Convenience album from 2004 called Riot on an Empty Street.

Kings of Convenience are a pop folk duo from Norway which consists of two guys, Øye and Bøe. They both sing and compose the music which is incredibly beautiful and soulful. I’m sometimes reminded of early Simon and Garfunkel or even (in some strange way) of Brazilian Bossa Nova like Baden Powell.

Listen to Know How (featuring Feist), a great song off the album but the whole thing is pretty damn solid.

Georges Brassens – Je Me Suis Fait Tout Petit

November 20, 2007

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I’ve been listening to this song on repeat lately, it’s another gem I discovered on my short road trip through the north of France.

Georges Brassens was a French folk singer, poet, and guitar player. He played many beautiful and elegant songs.

Listen here. Learn more about him here.

My Nostalgie

November 10, 2007

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I’ve spent the past two weeks driving through parts of Normandy and Brittany with Maggie. We have essentially listened to one French radio station the entire time called Nostalgie. When we would lose reception of the station I’d throw a conniption.

They have really cheesy musical jingles that are sung in English, totally absurd and ridiculous:

My nostalgie, my baby nostalgie.
Good music, sweet sweet music, nostalgie!

Rocking me gently, nostalgie.
Playing again that song for me, nostalgie!

Anyway, the music is like what WCBS FM 101.1 in New York used to be before they left the air and came back again (with a more contemporary twist). The really great thing though about Nostalgie is that they mix English oldies with French oldies like Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Georges Brassens, Barbara, Jacques Dutronc, Michel Polnareff, Françoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Joe Dassin, Johnny Hallyday, Édith Piaf, and France Gall.

I’ve only been out of the car a couple of hours but I’m already going through Nostalgie withdrawal.

They are even running a totally strange and deranged contest where you can win the original car from Starsky and Hutch. Could it get any more old school than that?

I think you can listen to the station online, although I haven’t tried it myself yet. Go to the website and give Nostalgie a whirl.

Iron & Wine – The Shepherd's Dog

October 11, 2007

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I’ve been listening to The Shepherd’s Dog, the new Iron & Wine (Sam Beam) record for a few weeks now. I tend to let it play on repeat over and over again.

This record is a departure and an evolution from what Sam Beam is known for, but if you like music by Vetiver, Midlake or Elliot Smith, I think you’ll love what you hear. The musical arrangements are gorgeous and Sam Beam’s voice is soft and dreamy. All together it makes for a truly heartfelt and stunning album.

My absolute favorite tracks are Resurrection Fern and Boy with a Coin.

You can stream the whole album here.

Herman Düne

October 4, 2007

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Herman Düne has probably been one of my favorite bands since my girlfriend introduced them to me two years ago. Once I started listening to them I just couldn’t stop. Their soulful brand of anti-folk pop makes me smile when I hear it and there are days when I’ll listen to nothing else. They’ve recorded eight albums so far and have a pretty big following in Europe. I’m not sure where they come from (Paris, Switzerland, Sweden, Monte Carlo, New York and Israel are all possibilities) but they live in Paris and absolutely love hanging out in New York. It seems that half of their songs are about New York City and riding the L Train. My favorite albums are Mas Cambios and Not on Top. Their latest album called Giant is also fantastic. It was released late last year in Europe but hasn’t been released in America just yet. In fact they are looking for help to find someone to release it in America. If you have any suggestions feel free to send them a message through their myspace page as they will respond.

As is always the case with a band I love, I wanted to see them play live more than anything. My chance finally came last month just before I left for Tokyo. They played Union Hall in Brooklyn (my friend Wes has a write up here) and it was an amazing night for sure. You’re talking to a guy who would see them five nights in a row if he could.

Listen to You Could Be a Model, Goodbye. It’s one of my favorite songs from Not on Top.

Download some other great songs here.

Buy their music on iTunes and Amazon.

Knoppers

September 20, 2007

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I am and will always be obsessed with this square chocolate bar from Germany. I go cuckoo for Knoppers any chance I get. Luckily for me, my agent just came back from Hamburg and brought me some.

I discovered the wonderful world of Knoppers on a work trip to Stuttgart, Germany a few years ago. I was checking out the supermarket situation as I always do when I visit a new country. The Knoppers were eyeing me from the shelf. I tried one and quickly decided that a whole bagful was necessary. They didn’t last a week as I ate at least two a day. Then over a year ago I was in Amsterdam waiting at a bus station when I found Knoppers being sold at the newstand. I filled up another bag. Those didn’t last either.

I’m not sure what makes me so crazy about Knoppers but it’s the perfect afternoon or late night snack. Great with a glass of Coke or a cup of tea. I love the combination of crispy wafer, milk chocolate, hazelnuts, and a nougat cream filling (to me it’s like marshmellow).

If you ever get a chance to indulge in some Knoppers don’t pass up the opportunity and don’t forget to bring some back for me.

Black Lips

September 20, 2007

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Black Lips play an infectious blend of rowdy bluesy drunkin’ garage rock and psychadelic pop. They hail from Atlanta. They’re infamous for their energetic and crazy live shows which can include an array of bodily fluids (piss, blood, spit, vomit) spilling out on stage and into the audience. I liked a bunch of songs off an older album, Let It Bloom, but I’ve been completely obsessed with their new album Good Bad Not Evil. There’s something very old school about it as it seems indebted to the American girl groups of the 1960’s like The Shirelles, The Shangri-Las, and The Ronettes.

It’s no surprise that these guys are signed to Vice Records, home of Vice Magazine as well. If Vice Magazine was a band they would be the Black Lips.

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I saw them play last night at the Williamsburg Music Hall. I missed the marching band parade over to the Music Hall from their free instore performance. Either way it was a great live show with an incredible raw energy. The Lips definitely understand that a band has to give a performance and not just stand around looking bored. The crowd loved it and responded by moshing, stage diving, beer throwing and even balcony jumping! I haven’t seen a crowd like this since my high school days.

Definitely check them out if you can. For now listen to Bad Kids, one of many great tracks on Good Bad Not Evil.

Buy the album or read more about them.

They even have their own blog.

The Veils

September 11, 2007

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The Veils released an album earlier this year called Nux Vomica which is pretty awesome. At one point I was really obsessed with the song Advice for Young Mothers to Be. I had it on repeat for days.

I saw them play Mercury Lounge three months ago for the opening night of their US tour. Last night I saw them again at Bowery Ballroom for the closing night of the same tour. The first show was definitely more exciting for me but lead singer and songwriter Finn Andrews is a powerful stage presence any time.

Listen to the song or buy the album.