Let me tell you a story about a marvelous young band called The Oh Hellos.
I must first be honest about one thing, I have kept The Oh Hellos to myself for quite some time. I can’t even tell you how I first discovered them, but at some point in 2012 I heard one of their songs, and instantly fell in love. Brother and sister Maggie and Tyler Heath are each glorious songbirds, whose unique voices are typically backed by a chorus of a harmonies and majestic arrangements that sound like Arcade Fire’s folk-y cousin. Their 2012 album Through The Deep, Dark Valley has made me smile, its made me cry, its even helped me fall asleep when trapped in the same room with a family member whose snoring made me nearly homicidal.
After years of listening to their music, but never seeing LA appear on any of their tour schedules, I assumed that this would be band I would only experience via recordings – and I was totally fine with that. But then, a few months ago while persuing TicketFly, I miraculously stumbled upon their show at The Troubadour. I added the tickets to my cart, checked out, and thought nothing of it. A few weeks later, when a friend suggested they might want to join me, I took a look to see if there were tickets left, and not only had the show I had tickets for sold out, but a second date had been added, and it too was sold out. Apparently my secret band was not as secret as I thought.
Friday rolled along, and the day before I reminded my boyfriend that he would be joining me to see a band I had never mentioned to him, that he had never listend to, but who meant a very great deal to me. Given that it was the day after my birthday, and he’s a very kind man, he obliged. I warned him that I had done very little research into what their live show was like, and thus could not guarantee him anything, but I secretly suspsected we were in for quite a treat…and boy was I right.
The Troubadour was packed to the rafters with fans and band members alike (there were 11 total people on stage playing two drums, a banjo, two guitars, a fiddle, an accordian, a bass, one backup vocalists, and then Maggie and Tyler – who also had a guitar). The show was nothing sort of spectacular. The band’s energy is out of this world and completely contagious, Tyler and Maggie’s voices are even more incredible in person than they are on their albums, and everyone on stage seemed to be having the time of their lives. At the end of their set, the crowd chanted for an encore and, when the band re-emerged, screamed so loud I think my ears are still ringing.
During the show my boyfriend hit the nail on the head when he observed that every one of their songs sounded like it could be the soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are. The show was truly a wild rumpus, and I think we are only just seeing the beginning of what I’m sure are many great things to come from this joyous and immensley talented group.
So do yourself a favor and listen to their album in its entirety here.
In case you hadn’t seen already, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival released their lineup announcement video today, and it might quite possibly be the most inclusive lineup I have ever seen. Ranging from Phish to Public Enemy, Solange to Foster the People, Trey Songz to Jason Isbell, Arcade Fire to Avett Brothers, Eric Clapton to Christina Aguilera (seriously). Not to mention the smattering of traditional NOLA jazz and gospel acts. I can’t decide if this is the most amazing strategy ever since people have already been going to Jazzfest for years regardless of the lineup, or if it’s going to result in the biggest clusterfuck in the history of music festivals.
Thinking about going? I know…so am I. Here’s a nifty to guide for everything you need to know if you’re planning a trip.
Best part of this announcement? It’s put a (temporary I’m sure) damper on all the Coachella-philes.
Last night, despite not having today off (or even a half day), I dragged my sorry butt to the Troubadour to check out Brooklyn band Caveman. While I had listened to plenty of their music beforehand, I still wasn’t quite sure what I was going to see at the show. Overall, Caveman’s music falls under what I personally dub “indie easy listening,” a.k.a. music that is definitely cool, definitely interesting, but is also the sort of thing you can put on at work and not really pay to much attention to, just enjoy. Sometimes, however, this sort of indie doesn’t always translate to a live show. This was, thankfully, not the case with Caveman.
Watching the show, singer Matthew Iwanusa’s voice is what really struck me (that and seeing the disco ball at The Troubadour put to use for the first time). It’s clean, clear, and under control. Okay but seriously – it’s really really good. It really brought their music to another level, and lifted the whole dynamic of the band. The guys played a good mix of old and new, debuting a lot of songs from their self-titled upcoming album. Jealous you didn’t hear any? Well lucky for you NPR is streaming the album before its April 2nd release date.
And as a little extra bonus, check out the guys performing one of my personal favorites “Where’s The Time” on The Artie Lang show.
Not since I’ve started this blog have I really had a chance to write about a true intersection of headphones and hangovers. That all changed this week.
In round one of my company’s two-phase holiday celebration, I took full advantage of a 6pm-8pm open bar. And it took full advantage of me. That next evening I went to a live music show by on-the-rise hipster darlings Alt-J.
Here is what I took from that experience:
1) Cheap white wine is just as potent as nice white wine, especially when it’s doled out by servers who seem to watch a full half of football while they’re pouring the drink.
2) Always, always, ALWAYS eat a lot of food before consuming said wine, not during. I know, at 25 years old I should have learned this lesson by now – but alas, the further I get from my college years the more I seem to regress in my knowledge of Drinking Basics 101
3) Always maintain an open line of communication with your cab driver. Trust me, he will want to help you in your time of need.
5) Work can be your friend during a hangover. Ignoring it is sometimes the best cure, and making yourself focus on even the most simple tasks can help get your brain back to a normal state.
6) Don’t be afraid to have three breakfasts and then a big lunch. It will help you.
8) When recovering from an unexpected weekday hangover while knowing you have to drive accross town for a not so cheap show later that night, never let yourself feel defeated. Keep reminding yourself that live music fixes most worries, and that this band is pretty cool.
9) Volunteer to drive. It will save you from yourself when you get to the bar at the venue.
11) Enjoy the music. Those of us who attend their fair share of shows have a tendency to get overly critical. The sound mix is off, this giant dude keeps blocking my view, the band takes too long to come on after the opener, the set list isn’t perfect. Who cares?! It’s awesome that we live in a society that fosters so much creativity and we get to reap the benefits whenever we desire. Plus Alt-J rules!
12) I like this song. A lot. And now you can too.
Now, let’s hope phase two is a little bit easier to handle…
Okay so here’s the thing. Auto-tune may be one of the most negative things to hit popular music in the past decade. When Jay-Z’s D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) was released, it gave me a semi-legitimate reason to launch into a diatribe about the abuse of the electronic tool to any person who seemed even remotely interested.
But why am I telling you this? Well because the song I am presenting to you today proves me totally and completely wrong. Polica (or specifically vocalist Channy Leaneagh) takes auto-tune and makes it interesting, cool, artistic,and exciting – both in the studio and in her live performances. The result is a spacey electronica-pop that’s somehow totally weird and extremely catchy at the same time – and I love it. While it seems as though “Lay Your Cards Out” may be more of the breakout track from 2011’s Give You The Ghost, my personal favorite is “Dark Star.” Despite being electro-pop, this song almost has this sort of funk quality to it (not funky, funk, like the style of music). Because of that I feel like the style of vocals almost takes you by surprise when you first hear it, but once you get over the initial shock you realize this is just one damn catchy tune.