“When Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon saw the Norwegian band Highasakite play at Norway’s Oya Festival in 2012, he fell in love. Now the band has covered one of their friend and touring partner’s songs with a gorgeous rendition of ‘Heavenly Father,’ a track Vernon originally recorded for Zach Braff’s 2014 film Wish I Was Here. Bob believes the single, which showcases Helene Håvik’s beautiful voice, is even more majestic than the original.” (via NPR All Songs Considered)
A few picks from NPR: All Songs Considered…
“The number one album of 2013 was Dormarion by Telekinesis. I have a hard time thinking of anyone who’s doing pop music now better than Michael Benjamin Lerner. Love the tension, the restraint, build and dramatic release in these cuts, especially on this opening song, ‘Power Lines.” via Robin Hilton, NPR: All Songs Considered
“Man’ is a thrilling, gender-bending, fun and funny anthem, and certainly the grabbiest moment on The Worse Things Get… But the rest of the album delves deeper and more provocatively into a brilliant and complex mind: Neko Case has wrapped her luxuriantly powerful voice around some terrific songs in her time, but she’s never wrapped it around statements this bold, or nerves this exposed. When, in her cover of a Nico ballad, Case sings “You are beautiful and you are alone,” the loneliness and beauty are profound enough to overwhelm.”
“A perfect mix of music and performance art, the voice/stories/songs of Khaela Maricich match beautifully with the electronic backbone/textures of Melissa Dyne. This is a spare record that I found a refreshing counterbalance to the world of electronica, where the incessant beats can be both amazing and suffocating. The Blow is a breath of fresh air.” via Bob Boilen, NPR: All Songs Considered
What is (31) Days of Good?
“There’s a line in that song that just slays me. It says, “Wisdom’s a gift but you trade it for youth. Age is an honor, but it’s still not the truth.” I just love that. I don’t know where you were when you wrote that line, but good lord.” via Bob Boilen, NPR: All Songs Considered
I’ve been gushing about Sleigh Bells since I started this here blog back in 2009. Since then, the NY noise-pop duo have released 3 full-length albums, and i’ve loved them all. Bitter Rivals was released this year (not even a year after 2012’s Reign of Terror) and packed full of the duo’s signature pop hooks and epic guitar riffs I love so much. I’m not sure if Sleigh Bells will ever be able to top their debut album, Treats, but if they keep releasing tracks like “Sugarcane”, I won’t complain one bit.
“’Don’t Swallow the Cap’ (maybe a reference to Tennessee Williams’ unfortunate demise) slowly builds into an anthemic ending, combining lush string arrangements with eery distortion and Bryan Davendorf’s cyclical drum work. It’s an odd melding of styles – Davendorf drums like he’s in Can; the Dessner brothers play delicate, sly melodies; Matt sings with an intimate intensity – but it works, and I’m not sure it ever won’t.” via Pretty Much Amazing
Cults’ self-titled debut was my favorite album of 2011, so needless to say, I was super excited for their sophomore effort. Like Sleigh Bells above, I don’t think Cults will top their debut, but Static did not disappoint one bit. There are a handful of worthwhile tracks, but “We’ve Got It” really showcases the duo’s signature sound of experimental pop and doo-wop vocals.
Patrick Watson embarks on a US tour today, in support of one of this year’s best releases — Adventures in Your Own Backyard. If you can’t catch a live show, at least check out the September performance at DC’s 9:30 Club that the good folks at NPR: All Songs Considered were nice enough to film and share [Patrick Watson in Concert: NPR].
11/16 Seattle WA @ The Crocodile
11/17 Portland OR @ Mission Theatre
11/19 San Francisco CA @ Great American Music Hall
11/21 Los Angeles CA @ First Unitarian Church
11/29 Grand Rapids MI @ Ladies Literary Club
11/30 Milwaukee WI @ Turner Hall
12/01 Minneapolis MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
12/02 Chicago IL @ Lincoln Hall
12/04 Columbus OH @ Wexner Center for the Arts
12/06 Toronto ON @ Massey Hall
12/08 Boston MA @ The Sinclair
12/09 Portland ME @ Space Gallery
12/11 Quebec QC @ Grand Théâtre de Québec
12/12 Laval QC @ Salle André-Mathieu
12/13 St-Jean QC @ Cabaret Théâtre du Vieux St-Jean
12/14 St-Hyacinthe QC @ Centre des arts Juliette-Lassonde