Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bon Iver, Bon Iver: Definitely Not Broken Record

If his first full-length album For Emma, Forever Ago, was cyrogenically-frozen-blue, Bon Iver's second self-titled album is shimmering-gold. The album is quiescent wind chime meets full-throttle marching band in pregnant pauses and unexpected turns.
His 10-track sophomore album is bomb. Vernon has emerged from the heartbreak-hotel-cabin he holed himself up in to write For Emma three years ago and has released a beautiful album heralding renewal.
Released in late June (though iTunes OOPSed and released it a week earlier than it was slated to), highlights of the album include:
Perth (haunting opening guitar crescendos to Mickey Mouse wrastling broomsticks a la Fantastia)
Michicant (throwback to Jeff Buckley's merry-go-round tune in Je n'en connais pas la fin)
Wash. (lighthearted piano pinnacles)
Holocene (slowly growing momentum-turns-tempest)
Bon Iver will be lighting up Boston's House of Blues next Friday, August 5th. The show's been sold out for months. In a righteous move, they made it a will-call show only. This artist continually jaw-drops me with his coolness. I'm considering sleeping on the street like those crazy moms post-Christmas outside Walmart to get a spot front-and-center.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On a Boat with DeerTick and Gem-of-an-Opener Aunt Martha

On Thursday, July 7th, a buddy of mine and I hopped aboard the Mass Bay Lines for the Rock On! Deertick Concert Cruise. This is a band that first grabbed my attention with their beautiful odyssey-like song These Old Shoes and poignant, gut-wrenching ballad Dirty Dishes. The former is an avowal to get to the singer's love at all costs. The latter is a eulogy to broken love that evokes nitty gritty imagery and sorrow a la Dire Straits Romeo & Juliet. The Providence-born band, which has evolved over the past 6 years, is spearheaded by John Mccauley, with a slingback-bourbon-voiced guitarist who is oddly hot with his hipster trimness and unapologetic fun-loving attitude. They've released three albums since their beginnings in 2004, the latest being the Black Dirt sessions, so dubbed because they recorded it in upstate-NY studio Black Dirt Studio.
As to be expected, DeerTick rocked hard, galvanizing the crowd with their raw energy and guitar work. BUT the highlight for the night was completely unexpected: Aunt Mother, their hands-down-just-bloody-talented opener. Check out some of their songs on their MySpace page (namely, Bloodshot). They've got an unbeatable lineup: violinist Brian Kim (this adds a dimension to the alt-country sound that was magical), unforgivably sick drummer Garret Leahy, and lead singer and guitarist, Tim Noyes, who every woman -- and more than likely man -- mentally disrobed at least once in the night. This is a band that I will be following. Forming in NYC with a diverse range of backgrounds, Aunt Martha has been together for a short two years, but have the lyrical prowess, dedication, talent, energy, and unique sound that bodes well for survival and success.
Check out their first self-released album from 2009 Candy Make and their highly-acclaimed EP Bloodshot released in early 2011. Pick up their 7-song free download of their Abandoned Bedroom Sessions after July 25th. Don't be too cool. It's free.
As for the concert -- get your ass on a boat in the harbor this summer for a concert. We drank myriad Coronas, watched the sun set from the harbor, and sweated and danced with the happiest people in town to amazing tunes. The only downfall was that no one covered I'm on a Boat. But whatever, we were, and we didn't need to be reminded.