Wednesday, September 24, 2008

TV on the Radio -One of My Faves for 2008

TV on the Radio is one of the most talented bands on the planet. Of course that's just my opinion, but if you spend just ten minutes listening to their new album Dear Science, I'll bet you'll agree with me. This five-member New York band burst on the scene two years ago with Return to Cookie Mountain. With "Dear Science," the band has managed to up the ante with a very unusual-yet-oddly-comforting layered sound that just floats you up into the atmosphere with closed eyes and snapping fingers. The imagery this music brings to the foreground is utterly mind-boggling. On "Halfway Home," musician/director/actor/film animator Tunde Adebimpe croons "Wild spirit winds from out your chest/ Collides with world and wilderness/ It needs a gentle hand to call it home/ Now surfs the sun and scales the moon." Mmm-hmm. You may have heard "Dancing Choose" on indie radio, which blurts out snippets of rap rants, saxophone thumps, synthesized beeps and more. Every time I hear it, I catch another few layers of sound that I hadn't discovered before. "Golden Age" is my favorite song to listen to while watching depressing financial news on CNN with the sound turned off. The compositions live and breathe with you for a long, long time. I'm simply addicted.

"A lot of bands have something to say," said multi-instrumentalist David Sitek. "We have something to ask."

My question for TV on the Radio is: When are you coming to Oregon? Bendites can catch the band in San Francisco at the Warfield on November 9th.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Duhks Evolve with "Fast Paced World" Album

Here I am, driving down the road, listening to a song called "The Mighty Storm" on the radio. My first thought was that Joan Osborne finally has a new album out! I was surprised to find out that the band is actually the Duhks, an absolutely fantastic neo-folk band from Winnepeg, Manitoba. Sarah Dugas is the lead singer, and she has an amazing set of pipes. The band is comprised of Jordan McConnel on guitar, pipes, whistles and vocals, Leonard Podolak on banjo and vocals, Sarah Dugas on vocals, Christian Dugas on percussion, and Tania Elizabeth on fiddle/violin. Their sound is definitely hard to put a label on. It's an amazing conglomeration of sounds, ranging from soul to folk to bluegrass to French lounge pop. Their live shows are apparently not to be missed. Check out this incredbile performance at Merlefest 2007.

The band is passionate about environmental issues, and they've started The Duhks Sustainability Project. Their goal is to tour as sustainably as possible, which means using biodiesel fuel, buying food from local organic farmers, and wearing sustainable eco-conscious clothing.

Catch their performance at Portland's Roseland Theater and Grill on September 28th.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Pillow Queens Are Ready For Their Closeup

How many bands do you know that describe their music as garage animal? In the case of Austin-based band the Pillow Queens, the shoe fits. The band, comprised of Duncan Malashock (vocals/guitar), Will Slack (vocals/guitar), Eric Loftis (bass), and Carolyn Cunningham (drums), have only been playing together for about two years, but I imagine they'll soon be getting nationwide press and radio coverage. They just released their first album titled "Kookoolegit" with Monofonus Press, a company that brings together musicians, artists and writers and combines their efforts into multimedia packages and performances. In this case, if you purchase Kookoolegit, you'll also get a short story penned by Karen Davidson called "Clear Violet."

The music is definitely experimental and rough, with obvious punk influences, and the lyrics can throw really throw you for a loop, alternating between joyful and ironic. The album really works well when all twelve tracks are taken as a whole. "Hot Song" and "Real Cool Head" will get your body moving, while "Animal Poseurs" is a delightfully weird song that describes people posing as different animals. "Lava Lamp" brings to mind images of surfing at Mavericks, with Lou Reed singing in your ear. "Dubai-bai" takes you along on a strange little trip to Dubai with these lyrics: "I'm gonna break up this band. Sail everyone's ship, so I can afford to snowboard indoors in the desert in Dubai."

At the end of September, the Pillow Queens will head to the northeast for ten days to promote their album. I look forward to seeing them grow as a band. In a perfect world, I could see David Byrne or T-Bone Burnett producing their next album.