Category Archives: Getting sappy and personal

Happy 32nd Birthday Jesse Lacey

Not much to say here, except thanks for being alive. To celebrate, listen to (probably) the most beautiful song he’s ever written, Play Crack The Sky,

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Still Light; The Brightest Hidden Gem

Sometimes when life is hectic, it asks for you to just let it be until the melting point has been reached. There’s nothing you can do to soothe these times, except to just rough it out. As life has been like this for me lately, it is possibly the reason why I haven’t listened to Lything by Still Light in a while. Well, with the changing of the season and the end of school, life has calmed down and I went back to this humble little record which has been patiently waiting for me to devour it and really listen to it. I found that the album sounds exactly what I would imagine Still Light to sound like if light could make music: floating and moving in its invisible form. The melodies whisper calm and gentle sounds that enter your ears with such grace that you can’t do anything but freeze and listen. So, stop what you’re doing, scroll down, and listen to the music provided for you below!

Still Light, a modest band who do not even have photos of themselves on their myspace, really do save the best for last with Tenebre, the wonderful 7 minute closing track of Lything. Almost the whole album (with the exception of Footprints in the Garden and Hour of the Wolf) is kindled by a soft male-female vocal harmony. The two voices, instead of fighting against each other to create two contrasting feelings for the listener, work together to unify each song, and also, the album as a whole.

We’ve called Still Light “The Brightest Hidden Gem”, challenging you to figure out what is so geniune and sincere about their music. For me, it is so perfect in its own composition that it is not malleable to the listeners’ conditions to be simply background music. Instead, you must commit yourself and let the music take you for an incredibly dreamy ride – the you won’t want to wake up from. Lucky for us, CD’s are re-playable and we can go back to this dream-like state whenever we see fit. A gem is something that is so perfect in its nature that there’s no need or room for change. A gem also does not need to be on the main stage (no wordplay intended…) to remain to beautiful. Beauty this rare needs to be handled patiently, gently and warm heartedly – needless to say, don’t pick up Lything if you are looking for meaningless sounds that were composed with no creativity and serenity. Not that it needs to be taken so seriously, but it just needs to be appreciated for what it is, because, well, some music is just like that. Music for music’s sake, ladies and gentlemen:

Tenebre

Now we’ve torn apart the ocean’s blue,
Long lost track of time, through and through,
Cold nights left to kill.

Feel the fall close the door, on days to come,
Nauseous words beg for more of what love’s become,
Familiar earth’s glow recedes to our loss that’s grown,
Ageless birth, crumbling seed of my own.

It follows slow, lock the door through hours to come,
Ragged teeth clench for more of what love’s become,
Sea of green drowning wounds in a helpless sigh,
A trace of me staring scars in the eye.

Through the Grain (Get through the first 30 seconds, there’s a drastic change)

Your warm soft eyes feel how I fade in the light,
Is the bitter spring only a mark of what remains?

The firm bright lines blurred after all of this time,
Is it my weathered bearing that pours through the grain?

Spread all out thoughts to places we knew,
And left behind shallow regrets,
Voice wearing thin, lips colored blue,
A beggar’s plea, the years to forgive.

Still Light’s Myspace
Still Light’s Blog

Brand New is finally UNSIGNED!; I’m a mountain that has been moved

“This is one of our first shows as an unsigned band in eight years or something like that… and it feels really nice, to not have anything cluttering up our lives anymore”

– Jesse Lacey @ Clifton Park, NY, 4/28/10 (source: here)

If you have ever experienced a Brand New concert (or 8, or 13), you should know that it is difficult to actually enjoy it – the fans usually ruin it with their fangirlish screams. Everyone at their shows just assume that Brand New, who used to be signed to Interscope, have the same concert morals and values as their peer bands that have been as successful as them (Ever been to a Taking Back Sunday show? God, they love to entertain. Do we really need to wear suits on stage?)

ANY ways, their shows usually start with the members walking on stage, and end with them walking off stage in the same fashion. Music is played in between. Isn’t that all we really need? They don’t feel the need to put on a “show”, they’re just there to share their music with those who are willing to hear. Jesse Lacey once said that was his goal was “to write some songs that mean so much to people, and sound so beautiful, that people want to fall apart and sleep forever,” and I can’t help but to wonder how it must feel to have reached that.

The 4 (sometimes 5?) band mates and friends have been consistently humble, gracious and modest – some qualities more bands needs to acquire. They are indifferent to anyone and anything that doesn’t have to do with genuine noise. They have never been all about “the scene” and selling out. They’ve never done anything to please anyone but themselves, and while they got a small taste of selling out, they let it go, because as soon as you give into all this corporate pop music bullshit, you’re automatically disgracing the music you make because it becomes about something more than music. Brand New has always made the nobel choice in order to a keep the sounds they make and the words that come from their brains genuine and sacred. And that, is one of many reasons why fans are so attracted and addicted to this band. Sometimes I sit and wonder why I have loved this band as much as I do, for as long as I have. I think I’ve just answered the question, no?

I could write about this band until dawn, but animals need sleep too.. So, lets get on with it, and celebrate that Brand new is now unsigned and free to let their minds wander in which ever creative direction they desire. Have a glass of wine! Smoke a fattie! Go out dancing! Spin in your chair until you feel really dizzy! Go grazing in the finest fields! Whatever you see fit. We are EXTREMELY excited to see which new path these men will create and build. We could not be happier for their independence as artists. Will they sign with a new label, or record with their own Procrastinate Music Traitors? It’s too soon to tell, but we’re excited to find out. One thing I can say right now is that these guys are too passionate about what they do to stop playing music.

When you think I’m sunk, I will float on and on

Beach House – Teen Dream;


Where you thinking that you gotta run to now with the beating of a tiny heart?

For the last two months or so, I have found myself entrapped in an undertow brought on by the whirling, haunting and dreamy sounds of Beach House. (While they are by no means a recently discovered band, it seems as if a full appreciation for their artistry had not made its full circle around my mind until a certain Sheep that I can always count on, found a home for one of their new tracks on a fabulously constructed mix.) It has become a familiar process as of late; no matter the time of day, I find myself finding time to put the real world on pause, reach for whatever sound producing device may be near by and select any song by the aforementioned Beach House. The result is an instant lull, followed by a sheepish smile, a deep cleansing breath and staring contest between my eyes and the sky or the space between my current state of mind and the baggage that has fallen, so effortlessly, from my conscious. Eventually, I am overcome with the desire to make some sort of contact with the outside world and let them know just ‘how much I love this band.’ (Fortunately, the Sheep has unlimited texting and, um, patience.)

You’d think this was some sort of religious experience, or perhaps one involving illicit drugs but neither of the above are true, really. What it is for me is simple. It’s Beach House‘s ability to elevate the simplicity of sound to such heights – where the air is too thin to breathe, forcing the overcharged and underpaid synapses in my brain to finally come to a rest and allow my subconscious to get lost for a while. Perhaps, Rebecca Solnit, author of “A Field Guide to Getting Lost,” said it best: “To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away.” And that is what Beach House does for me. Their sound, so perfectly layered – like a big fucking ice cream cake – completely melts the taste buds of my mind, drops the temperature within my soul to somewhere deep below the point of zero and then transports me, stumbling gracefully through every note and hollow word, to a place where I am lost, yet comfortable with the idea of it all.

In an endless night,
could you feel the fright of an age that was and could never be?
So we hold it close when we feel the most
like a love that we could not leave behind
Turn the wheel to each way we feel until
I’m lost and I cannot find you there
Don’t forget the nights when it all felt right,
are you not the same as you used to be?

For the most part, my last two months have been spent procrastinating papers, cramming for exams, celebrating holidays, spending time with friends, learning how to speak Canadian and um, oh – that’s right – reevaluating the plans that I’ve been counting on and peeking through my hands as I fear for their unravelling. So, yeah, that might have something to do with needing an escape, but that does not take away from how amazing this band actually is at what it does.

Have I gone too far? Personally, I don’t think so. A band has not had the power to make me feel this way in a very long time. I believe that when one is lucky enough to have something affect them so strongly, it is important to realize how rare of an occurrence it truly is and to appreciate it, open up to it and allow it the space that it needs to consume, fulfill and eventually repair you.

With that being said, Beach House‘s third full length album, Teen Dream (head over to NPR for a free preview), hits stores today, 1/26/09. I believe I can speak for both myself and our little wooly friend when I say that it is an album that needs to be heard, even if only once, you owe it to your soul. My superfreaky friend was cool enough post a great entry about the Teen Dream vinyl, including pictures – you should check it out.

Maybe this was not much of an album review but sometimes, some things are better left unexplained, especially when the opportunity exists to experience them. Take a deep breath, let your mind go and enjoy.

I’ve been stuck in a Teen Dream and I never want to wake up. Thank you, Ms. Legrand and Mr. Scally for creating such ‘sad shit.

Beach House Myspace
NPR Teen Dream Stream
Song of the Week
KEXP Interview

The Antlers – Hospice ; real men know how to howl

What do the singers of Bon Iver and The Antlers have in common?
That low, scratchy growl of a voice, of course!

One day, while the wolf and the sheep were hard at work discussing the best albums of 2009, the obvious choice for #1 was Brand New’s Daisy. Brand New is our ULTIMATE band. We could probably share some crazy stories about things we’ve done for this band, but maybe another day. It’s pretty much Brand New over everything else in life for us. At least, that is how it is on most days. Not on this day though, because the wolf said to the sheep, “I hate to break it to you, but my favourite album of the year was by The Antlers.” Jaws dropped and so did the (chat)room temperature. The sheep was enraged. The wolf was scared with its claws ready to defend as the sheep wanted to pounce.

Clearly, 2009 tested our musical tastes and dedication to our favourite band. Even thought my love for Brand New will float on and on, I find that I am less.. well, obsessive, about them due to the new sphere of music that I have opened myself up to. Upon hearing His Old Branches a 2009 EP released by what can be considered our breath of fresh air band – The Republic of Wolves (You’ve got to hear this band!), the sheep exclaim— I mean, bah-ed loudly, : “I AM SO OVER BRAND NEW RIGHT NOW”. The point is, there comes a time for every music lover when you begin to explore the world of music beyond your safety point (ie Brand New, which held me over for years). You begin to explore new music and sounds and the feelings these new artists invoke. 2009 marked this for me. I’m not sure if it is because I moved away to university and became more independent in life overall (a milestone, really) and therefore was more brave to try new things, or simply because the same old tunes weren’t cutting it for me. Either way, my life has been blessed with new sounds to enjoy, and I will be grateful for this beyond the day when my children pick up the same CDs I bought this year and fall in love with them the same way I did.

Among these CDs, there will be a copy of Hospice. This was an album that I had to get used to with every listen. Thankfully, each listen did not feel like a chore (such as trying to like the new Taking Back Sunday albums back in the day…..). I was trying something new, now forcing myself to like something I was already dedicated to. I was intrigued by the new art. The thing that interested me the most about Hospice is that it is a concept album and tells a story chronologically with each song. I was introduced to the song Two in a mixtape I received from a certain big-toothed individual who runs this blog. There were 17 songs on that mixtape and this was the only one I listened to for days (sorry wolf). I hate to say this, but it was beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful! So much beauty in 6 minutes that it could make you cry. I had a hard time getting into the rest of the album because the bar was set so high due to my repetitive listens of Two (iTunes play count: 62)

As for me, I am beyond excited to see The Antlers this February as they make a stop in Toronto with The Editors (The Editors on Myspace). As for the Wolf, she has been lucky enough to see them already, and could only describe it as the most beautiful show she’d ever been to. Now, please note that, even though we use the world “beautiful” a LOT on this blog, does not mean that we use it lightly. We use it because it is the perfect word, and we mean it every time.

I can wrap up all this personal junk with saying that The Antlers have been a big deal for me because they are a new sound for me. They have been a band that allowed me to expand and test my boundaries of what i allow my ears to hear. In my life, that is a pretty big deal.

Finally, time for the goodies:

The Antlers – Shiva – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

The Antlers – Two / Epilogue – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

The Antlers also stopped by Daytrotter:

You said you hated my tone
It made you feel so alone
So you told me I had to be leaving
But something kept me standing by that hospital bed
I should have quit but instead I took care of you


Kettering

These can be downloaded right off the site righthere. Enjoy! Listen! Expand your horizons! And then listen again!

Keep checking back for a review of Hospice hopefully!

PS: Thank you to our new subscribers! It means a lot to us 🙂

Rachael Yamagata; Elephants (and emotions too)

There is something about a beautiful song that makes it beautiful, obviously – but what is it? Is it how it captivates you to the point where you are unable to focus on anything but the sweet sound filling the space between your ears? Or maybe it’s the pattern of foot prints that your mind makes, walking in circles trying to wrap itself around how everyday words, woven together by the simple keys of a piano and gentle strings of an orchestra can, with repetition, relieve your body of an invisible weight that you know you’ve been carrying but were never really sure why? Perhaps it is the tidal wave, you know that tidal wave that takes you down and washes you clean of the creeping feelings that have been lingering above your head like three floating question marks; setting you free and pushing you forward.

Rachael Yamagata may best be known to the masses for her hit Be Be Your Love which was featured on the Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants soundtrack in 2005. Like most artists with actual talent who find mainstream popularity, it is very often not their best work that garners attention, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how protective you are of beautiful things). Yamagata’s most recent release, Elephants…Teeth Sinking into Heart, is a 2 disc set with Elephants offering up a weighted, darker expression of emotion while Teeth Sinking into Heart allows Yamagata to release herself from the chains of life’s vulnerability and gives her the opportunity to tighten her vocal chords and grit her teeth, with a more aggressive delivery of expression. However, despite the differences between the two halves of Yamagata’s final product, they compliment each other beautifully and either would be incomplete without the other accompanying it.

So, do you remember that beautiful song that we were talking about? The one that stops you in your tracks, sends your mind spinning and knocks you over? Now, you may think that we’ve fallen in love with this song because of our mildly inappropriate obsession with all things having to do with animals (we refer to ourselves as The Wolf and The Sheep, must we explain further?) but we can assure you that if only for this instance in the history of instances, the relationship between title of this song and our love for wildlife is a total coincidence – we would have felt the same if the song was called Feta Cheese Omelet, Yum – but it is not. Elephants, the opening track to, um, Elephants is that beautiful song that we were talking about. It seems as if the only way to offer this song to new ears would be to simply suggest that you open a separate tab, find the lyrics and read along. What is most phenomenal about this song to us are the lyrics (c’mon don’t act like you didn’t know) – Yamagata relates human behavior to animal characteristics while divulging the listener in a perfect depiction of the vulnerability of the human heart in the reflection of what went wrong and the struggle to move on when what it is you are trying to forget will not allow you to. What finds its way into the finale of the song, however, is a sugges- no, more like encouragement to be fearless, and while there is always the 50% chance that you will find yourself “ripped to shreds and laughing as you bleed,” once in a while the flip side of the coin may just be in your favor. Never miss the opportunity to dive head first into love but always remember to keep “one eye open at night.”

Have a listen and let us know what you think, actually, have a couple of listens and then let us know how it makes you feel.

And I am dreaming of them with their kill, tearing it all apart
Blood dripping from their lips and teeth sinking into heart

And how dare that you say you’ll call
When you know I need some peace of mind
If you have to take sides with the animals
Won’t you do it with one who is kind

http://www.myspace.com/rachaelyamagata

http://www.rachaelyamagata.com/music

– the wolf & the sheep