Friday, July 8, 2011

Melancholy Indie Update: The National

I've been listening to The National a lot lately.  They're a Brooklyn-based indie rock band and you absolutely have to check them out.  The band is composed of baritone singer Matt Beringer, brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner (guitars), and brothers Scott and Brian Devendorf (drums and bass).  Padma Newsome from The Clogs adds strings, keys and that satisfying finishing touch that so many of The National's flawless compositions provide.

This a a great link to some of The National's best tracks.  I'm a huge fan of "Wasp's Nest," "About Today," and "Mistaken for Strangers."

I found this recent interview with the Dessner brothers really interesting.  I'm not surprised to hear that the band members have found themselves engaged in a "near relationship-ending" constant artistic battle between themselves and Matt every time they've recorded an album.  The National is unique in that the brothers compose the music and Matt writes all of the lyrics and sings, as opposed to the musicians writing the lyrics and having a lead singer sing them.  I can't imagine how difficult and frustrating this must be at times.  Matt sings of love, sorrow, regret, relationships, the complexities of the emotional human experience.  At times the sadness can be overwhelming, but that's the point.  The National also makes noteworthy political commentary in tracks like "Fake Empire" off their 2007 album Boxer.  Boxer is their fourth and best album.  Their fifth album, High Violet, released in 2010, is really starting to grow on me.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Isaiah & Hovey

My friend Isaiah Clements recently released a rap album.  Isaiah met his producer Hovey while attending VCU in Richmond, Virginia.  All songs were written and recorded in Richmond.  Isaiah and Hovey performed at local bars and venues in Richmond periodically throughout the year, and they now have a loyal fan base there.  My favorite track on the album is "I Really Enjoy Those Girls."  Isaiah is the next Kid Cudi- his smooth flow and interesting vocabulary combined with Hovey's poppy synth back beats have created a refreshing style of hip hop that is independent and aesthetically poetic.

The complete album can be listened to here

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Adam Deitch

Adam Deitch, the insanely funky drummer for Lettuce and John Scofield, has been a favorite of mine in the funk fusion world for as long as I can remember.  I've had the opportunity to see him play with both Sco and with Lettuce, and each time he has been absolutely phenomenal.  I've been playing the drums for two years now and Deitch has been a constant model as I learn new grooves.

Death Proof Car Chase

This is an amazing car chase scene from Death Proof (released 2007), one of my favorite Tarantino films. The scene is reminiscent of the 1971 cult classic Vanishing Point, starring the same white 1970 Dodge Challenger. As a whole, this film is an exciting, artistic gem.


Burial & Fourtet Collaboration

I had to post this collaboration between Burial & Fourtet, two of my favorite electronic gurus at the moment. It's titled Moth, and I'm in love with the haunting, subterranean bass!

Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty is one of the funkiest fusion horn players going! He just released his new album Backatown on 4/20, and I'm loving it.  This album is a great example of Shorty showing everyone that the trombone can make a place for itself in other styles of music in addition to jazz.  Track 5, Backatown, is one of my favorites.


Simon Green (Bonobo) released his latest album, Black Sands, this Spring on March 23rd.  This is hands down my favorite electronic album this year.  Green made a name for himself in his teens making music and dj-ing in Brighton, and he's been on the rise ever since.  He's now one of Ninja Tune's most popular (and talented) artists.  My favorite tracks on the album are Kiara, All In Forms, and Animals.  Green has produced some truly creative, danceable tracks here.  Black Sands is a great album to bump at a party or listen to while you're chilling out.