Archived entries for Music

Music 2012

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to music last year, going to an average of one show a week (though weighted heavily towards the first half of the year) and listening to a lot of great bands. I bought a Friends of the Bottle pass at the Empty Bottle, which made it super convenient for me to just pop in to see who was playing when I had a free night.

However, for some reason, I’m just not excited about creating a year-end best-of list. Instead, here is a list of every record I actually bought this year. A while ago I decided that I’m only going to buy music on vinyl, so this heavy stack is sitting next to me right now; I still love having a physical music collection.

Bloodiest – Descent
Dan Deacon – America
Deafheaven – Roads to Judah
Disappears – Pre Language
Future Islands – In the Fall
Godspeed You Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Joan of Arc – Pinecone
Joan of Arc – Presents Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc – s/t
Liturgy/Oval – Split LP
Locrian – The Clearing
Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement
Minutes – s/t
Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die
Mountains – Choral
Nice Nice – Chrome
Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica
Parliament – Motor Booty Affair
Personal Space – Electronic Soul 1974-1984
Radar Eyes – s/t
Ravi Shankar: Live at the Monterey Interaction Pop Festival
Soundtrack – Paris Texas
Sunn O))) – 00 Void
Superchunk – No Pocky for Kitty
Superchunk – Here’s Where The Strings Come In
Talking Heads – This Must Be the Place (LP single)
The Spinanes – All Sold Out 7″

Music 2011

In putting together my top 10 albums of 2011 I didn’t look purely at what I’ve played the most, but what I got most excited about. All of these albums grabbed me when I first heard them and led me into weeks or months of replay, sometimes even on loop (which I normally don’t do). I’m not a music critic, so I can’t really put these into the context of all albums that have come out this year. I did see half of these groups play live last year, which may have been a catalyst for enjoying the recordings so much.

In non-ranked, alphabetical order:

A$AP Rocky: LiveLoveA$AP
Balam Acab: Wander/Wonder
Bjork and Omar Souleyman: The Crystalline Series
Braids: Native Speaker
Deafheaven: Roads to Judah
Hauschka: Salon Des Amateurs
How to Dress Well: Just Once EP
The Weeknd: House of Balloons
Washed Out: Within and Without
Wolves In The Throne Room: Celestial Lineage

Street Music

Today is Dasara, the tenth and final day of the Vijayadashami festival, and the neighborhood is full of celebrations. Every car and building has a string of marigolds hanging from it and fireworks are going off everywhere.

There’s also lots of music, and after writing about my search for music here I realize now that I know where to find it: in the street, like everything else. I ran across this band today on my walk home from work. The giant multi-headed peacock on wheels was a keyboard and amplifier, blasting loudly over the drums and horns.

More photos and video on Flickr.

Update: The New York Times just posted a video about bands in India that’s worth watching. Apparently they aren’t treated with much respect and it’s not considered a good job to have. The band they profile lives in one room and shares a single shower.

Too Fancy

Hearing live music is one of my favorite things, and in Chicago I go to a show at least once a week. I discover a lot of new music this way since it’s so easy to stroll over to the Empty Bottle or ride my bike to The Hideout. I knew I’d be missing out on a lot of great shows by coming to India, including the end of summer festival season, but I had hoped to get into the music scene in Mumbai to make up for it. Unfortunately it’s proven a little harder to engage with than I expected.

One of the reasons is just geographical, the few venues in the city are pretty far from my apartment and would take about 45 minutes to get there. The other is that shows here have a very different feel that’s kind of off-putting. All the shows I’ve been to have super high production values with things like live-mixed video backdrops. Up by the stage you can expect a few people with 5D Mark IIs and Zoom 4HNs recording the show for posterity. Basically, it’s just a bit too fancy for me, not at all like the casual bars or DIY shows I’m used to. I’m still on the look out for something more my style.

Below is an example of what I’m talking about. The first photo is Blue Frog, a very nice venue that gets a diverse range of acts. It’s the best venue in Mumbai, and I’m sure I’ll go back, but the interior design with pod-like seating and color changing spotlights is over the top. The second photo is from a show at a movie studio in my neighborhood. I had high hopes for it, but cheesy visuals (and frankly, the music itself) drove me out after one set.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

I just returned from watching Joan of Arc perform a live original score to the 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc as part of the opening night of CIMM Fest. It was obvious that they spent serious time with the film to craft such a seamless and moving soundtrack. I’ve seen Joan of Arc play many times but this show went above and beyond, especially impressive since it was a one-time performance. I can only hope someone was recording it so people can mash it up with a Netflix copy of the film anytime they want.


I just learned about this Montreal-based band from the Post Family blog and thought I should pass it along. Enjoy.