Music recommendations, like choosing your favorite Beatle, is a make-it-or-break-it tryst with fate. For friends who rely on your musical preference, one misstep and you go down the drain, with Top 40 and all. As everybody wants to be in the business of being the connoisseur of taste, I rest on the one being on the lookout; searching for new sounds and new bands that I have yet catalogued in my collection. A chanced encounter in Bandcamp I came across Matthew and the Birds while getting a tad bit turned off by all the lo-fi fuzziness going on in music lately; craving for something fresh, light and most of all fun.
“You’re like honey that never go bad,” Matthew Ariaratnam sings in “There For You” which pretty much sums up the experience of listening to the fusion of jazz, 1930s swing era, ska and modern pop in Between the Waves. For a generation that does not even know who the Beatles are, Matthew and the Birds singing about a jam with Frank Sinatra does not necessary translate to coolness unless you have been nominated at the London Music Award for Best Pop Artist or shortlisted for a Jack Richardson Music Award like they do. Between the Waves in actuality does not need these appellations to introduce the music it has stored in its quality, recommended for a continuous listening from the life of the party “Suzie Suzie” to the reflective “Ships,” Matthew and the Birds promise no rough seas ahead. The feel-good, jaunty vibe in Between the Waves transcends to ebullient occasions; just like how fun should be in its intimate sense— good times a-rolling, high-five-ing everyone while the band “make the people dance.”
Few weeks ago I tried communicating with the band to discuss their music and have more insights about Between the Waves. Here what comes out of it, enjoy.
One of the stories back in the ’80s that for a time banded together Cold War rivals USA and USSR was the predicament of three Californian grey whales caught under the Arctic Circle and was threatened by the thickening ice closing in on them. The simple yet touching story of the rescue was also backed up by a romantic spin of two important people in the project, environmentalist Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore) and local reporter Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) who was expecting to have the exclusive scoop on the event, were ex-lovers. Expected to be quite cheesy at that angle, Ken Kwapis directed the film who had his past endeavors (He’s Just Not That Into You, License to Wed and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) leaned to that department, hope not too much this time though. While the trailer gives away much the premise of Big Miracle, the adventure lies on the unfolding story of how human spirit and the mindless conflict between those superpowers were thawed by the mission.
Highlighting the trailer is Passion Pit’s “Moth’s Wings” from Manners beginning at 1:13. Inspired by a true story from the book Freeing the Whales by Thomas Rose, Big Miracle will hit theaters February 2012.
Never out of respect for musicians who continue to push the envelope in music, I cannot help but feel enthusiastic when I received in the mail Matt Steven’s third effort Relic. Based from his work with his band The Fierce and The Dead, its debut reckoned to be one of the year’s (if not the) best left-field post-rock record of the year, it is not an overstatement to consider Matt Steven as one of the most talented, poignant guitarists/ instrumentalists in the current scene. In Relic, he showcases once more his genre-defying work mixing post-rock influences tinged with jazz, metal and electronic with the help from The Fierce and the Dead drummer Stuart Marshall (disarming in “20 GOTO 10″) and Crippled Black Phoenix/ Catscans’s Chrissie Caulfield on violin (“Scapegoat”) plus additional instruments like bass, Mellotron and glockenspiel.
Relic is released under Stevens’ own label Spencer Park Music and can be purchased on a name-your-price (imagine!) download on his Bandcamp page. The release of Relic signals Stevens tour all over UK plus more dates to follow which fans can follow through his website. Relic is out September 26th. and produced by Kevin Feazey.
After a self-titled EP and a new single “Sleep” last July, Russian post-rock act I am waiting for you last summer return with the new Come Full Circle EP which came out yesterday, September 25. Issued independently by the band, the Come Full Circle includes “Sleep” with three more tracks, “And Nothing Changed Yet,” “Nevermore” and the hypnotic opener “Event Horizon.” Eugene, Leo and Alex, though still trying to etch their signature sound apart from their post-rock acts influences, continue to develop thicker and more densed sound than their earlier EP. Songs in Come Full Circle work in more space and in comparison to the first EP, less melodic but with greater weight (“Nevermore”) and layers against Leo’s more forward contribution in his department, hazier beats and electronics (“Event Horizon” and “And Nothing Changed”). Few surprises also polish the sound the band is heading to, effects of pouring water (“Nevermore”) and the choir-like moodiness of “”And Nothing Changed” are a step-up and affecting in total. Come Full Circle is available in the band’s Bandcamp for free.
Beirut’s “Goshen” from Rip Tide was the song that sparked my Incendiary series where I write about a particular song on personal interpretation while trying to key myself in with what the musician tries to convey. Since writing about it, I have received some search hits about their live performance of the song. Though sadly they did not get to perform that song in this NPR Tiny Desk Concert, they played two from Rip Tide and a bonus A Hawk And A Hacksaw and The Hun Hangár Ensemble original “Serbian Cocek,” a band favorite they played earlier in Berlin four years ago.
From their current record, Zach and Co. started with “East Harlem,” a sprightly number with repetitive verses and one of many Condon’s poetic propensities to cities and places, for which he stated in his New York Times interview is relatively influenced by Chilean poet Roberto Bolaño. More of this likeness was a song he introduced (looking a bit exhausted and shaky coming in straight from his show at Bonnaroo) as ‘song about my hometown in a loose sense’ is “Santa Fe,” the second track from Rip Tide. The performance is highlighted by that Scandalli and Condon’s playing his revered instrument, which he also did in “Serbian Cocek” though more relaxed and engaged in his parts in the instrumental.