Monday, August 30, 2010

Music Monday: Broken Bells

Broken Bells is the musical duo of Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and The Shins frontman James Mercer. They describe their music as "melodic, yet experimental" with Mercer's distinctively earnest and melancholy voice given buoyancy by Danger Mouse's catchy beats and sparkling arrangements. Broken Bells has just one self-titled album that just came out on March 9, 2010, and it is definitely worth your time to give these songs a listen!

Here's a sweet video for "The Ghost Inside":

Check out their debut single, "The High Road":

Check out the Broken Bells website for tour dates, pictures, and an amazing interactive music video for another great song called "October".

Monday, August 16, 2010

Music Monday: Music Movies You Should See

The nights are cooling and crab-apples are thunking to the ground; the first whispers of Fall are in the air. Now don't get scared; it's still summer! But it is good to be prepared, and since Winter in New England is what it is, it's getting to be about time to restart your Netflix subscription or at least update that queue. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite music movies you should definitely consider watching!

Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads)

Stop Making Sense is one of the best concert films we've ever seen, with striking imagery and direction and a flawlessly energetic performance by a great band. The movie was filmed over three nights on the band's 1983 "Speaking in Tongues" tour, but is edited together so well it forms a cohesive story-like structure like the best singular concert experience of your life.

A Hard Day's Night (The Beatles)

Part concert film, part mockumentary, A Hard Day's Night describes a couple of days in the lives of the group as they perform, deal with celebrity, and get into trouble. It's funnier than you would expect it to be, and the Beatles are at their charming best. If you like the band at all and haven't seen it yet, do it!

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Daniel Johnston)

Artist, singer, and songwriter Daniel Johnston has written some of the most strikingly honest and clever lyrics we've ever heard. This documentary explores the life and creativity of a fascinating character who dances on the edge of what we would call 'sanity' and creates amazing art because of it. Never heard of him? Watch it. You won't forget.

Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones)

reated by the amazing documentary filmmaking team of Albert and David Maysles (also responsible for the awesome movies The Beatles: The First U.S. visit, Grey Gardens, and Salesman), this film explores Rolling stones 1969 tour, culminating in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. With a lot of great footage of the Rolling Stones seriously rocking it, behind-the-scenes insights into what it was like putting a free festival together, and an unbiased look at the sinister events that transpired as the show went on, this is as much an important cultural film as a musical one.

The Last Waltz (The Band, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Muddy Waters and many more)

The Last Waltz documents The Band's performance at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom in 1976. They perfomed with a ton of awesome singers/musicians all in their prime with amazing energy and stage presence, sublimely directed Martin Scorcese. Is this the best concert film of all time, as has been stated by many? We're not saying no!

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Anvil)

Anvil?! Who is Anvil? Exactly. All of the bands that performed at Japan's Super Rock Festival in 1984 made it big (Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Whitesnake) except for this Canadian metal band. This documentary explores what it is like now for the once-promising band to continue trying to 'make it' as they deal with middle-aged life. It is hilarious, charming, and surprisingly moving. Even if you have absolutely no interest in heavy metal music as a genre, you will still fall absolutely in love with this movie. (We did!)

We hope you enjoyed our music movie roundup, although it was by no means comprehensive. We would love to know what your favorite music movies are!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Music Monday: Arcade Fire

The Arcade Fire hails from Montreal and are fronted by married couple Win Butler and Regine Chassagne with an oft changing cast of super-talented multi-instrumentalist collaborators singing and playing piano, violin, hurdy-gurdy, French horn, and more. Their music is indie rock with an epic sweep, filled with lush instrumentals and heavily layered harmonies.

They released a sweet self-titled EP in 2003, but it wasn't until 2004 that the released the absolutely amazing Funeral, a solid and moving album that was lyrically and tonally influenced by the deaths that year of several of the band members' relatives. This album managed to be both somber and uplifting, and was extremely well-received, both critically and commercially. Here is the official video for the first song off of that abum, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)":

In 2007, the band released Neon Bible which was also universally praised and definitely awesome. Here is the first single off that album, called "Intervention":

Here is an amazing acoustic performance of the song "Neon Bible", played in an elevator, using a ripping magazine for (surprisingly effective) percussion. This is one of our favorite performance videos ever:

They recently released their newest album, The Suburbs, and once again, we think they have created an awesome piece of art! Give a listen to the titular song here:

The Arcade Fire is currently on tour, and just played a couple of days ago (August 5) in Madison Square Garden, a show that was to be directed by Terry Gilliam. They streamed it live on Youtube and you can see the whole thing here. We really like the claymation/puppet promo video they made for the event:

Sweet! We love the Arcade Fire and hope you do too. Check out their website here for all kinds of fun things to hear and see!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Music Monday: Ghostland Observatory

Many of us who were at the first Nateva festival this past 4th of July had our minds melted a little bit by the electrifying performance of this musical duo. A combination of electronica and straight up rock with some soul thrown in for good measure, the super-danceable music of Ghostland Observatory is well suited to live performance. Thomas Ross Turner always wears a cape when he plays synthesizer, keys, drums, and sings backup. Aaron Kyle Behrens sings, yowls, and plays guitar. We think he sounds like a mix of Jack White, Freddy Mercury, and Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. The experience is heightened by the crazy light show light saber war that accompanies their concerts. Here they are playing at Coachella:

Based in Austin, TX, they have gathered a loyal following there, and though they play all the time, the shows always sell out really quickly. They made two albums, toured around the country, and despite being poised to become the next big thing in indie music and get some kind of crazy record deal, they have continued to put out their own records under their own label, Trashy Moped Records.

Listen to their song "Sad Sad City" with a cool fan-created typographical video below:

Here's a sweet mini-documentary about the band:

Check out their website here for tour dates, music, and more sweet Ghostland stuff!