2009 has proved to be a bad year for list making. This is not only because tons of shit went down this year that we don’t really want to talk about but also due to the fact that most art worthy of public attention seems to have been announced too loudly for anyone to have missed it, proving little need for documentation. 2009 is without a doubt one of the least subtle years of recent memory. What was good this year has had its praise shouted out by EVERYBODY and has been noted EVERYWHERE. What was bad (or sad) this year has likewise been shoved down our throats till we’re made sick of it. Even art that gained mixed responses this year has seemed to draw more from the left or the right than from those stuck in the middle of their feelings, with a plethora of equally bombastic responses from both lovers and haters flying at us all with hyper speed. With everyone on their loud mouthed high horses this year, I’ve found myself playing devils advocate most of the time, positive that not everything is as black and white as this year, or rather, our responses to this year have suggested. This perhaps explains a bit of my missing in action here at minorprogression; a bit of the existential blog blues at the end of a year that has had no room for those feeling indifferent or not knowing quite what to think.
The exhausting nature of this year was often due to the fact that it was not a year for new artists. Almost all of the art I found myself being introduced to during this past twelve months was the work of people already on the radar. No where was this fact more apparent than in the world of music “popular music”. With the exception of very few titles, all of the really noteworthy albums that came out this year were the works of artists who have been honing their craft for at least an album or two, many of whom are already three or more albums into their careers. Part of my feeling a bit lost in the hype explosion was the fact that many of these great albums I could see coming from many miles away. Though there were many massive achievements in music this year, it’s hard to be surprised by the fact that Animal Collective, The Dirty Projectors and Fever Ray put out some of this years best material.
These facts only amplify the already celebration worthy emergence of Tune-Yards on the music scene, a band who are without a doubt the most exciting new music makers that I’ve been turned on to lately, with force that stands up to the big boys of the year with ferocious ambition and charm to spare. Here’s a video of them playing one of my favorite songs of theirs,
I followed my friends down the stairs to a basement in a house on the North edge of Seattle’s central district. Inside it was dark and muggy. It wasn’t a punk-rock house, or a DIY collective. It was a fairly regular looking house, but people in their twenties seemed to live there. I think it was a going away party for Seth Sugar (Wilde Turkey), who was moving to NYC. I always liked his music and enjoyed his company, so I figured this show would be worth something or other. Still, I can be grim. My friends who had taken me usually liked good music, but had taken me to more than one show that left me trying to figure out which hurt more; my head, my feet, or my sad, withering heart. I was not having a good time living in Seattle in late 07. However, this would end up being one of the only really great experiences that happened in the months before I left. To my delight, KHV (Katherine Hepurn’s Voice) filled my head with ideas, my feet with morphine and my heart with another soft red spot, waiting to be punctured when the show was over. Yes, I liked it.
I’ve been watching Aunt Dracula rise for the past few months and I’ve been quickly falling in love, their sound is influenced by Animal Collective, horror, shoegazing bands like My Bloody Valentine… pretty much everything whimsical and swirly, they push their sound and lyrics into odd wastelands that only an ageless vampire that has grown tired of devouring humans could create… whenever his voice hits the high notes (blushes) I feel like I’m collapsing inside, like I’m able to just melt into the chaotic beautiful energy he has mastered. As summer encroaches upon us I highly recommend adding this album to your stack of “must brings” for the road trips you take with your friends. Until then, toke up and just wait for the frost to recede, and thank Republicans for global warming cause it may happen quicker than we expect. Anyway, I had a chance to chat with Scott Daly of Aunt Dracula and he sent me a bunch of personal information as well as a stack of their new album “Face Peel”. If you would like one just email me your mailing address and I’ll send you one: firstname.lastname@example.org …the first 3 people get one, everyone else needs to go to the record store. There are some downloads after the interview too. Continue reading
So I came across this guy Casey Chisholm online who makes music by himself somewhere in California. I listened as it bled into me like osmosis. It was beautiful yet non-demanding. It kind of reminded me of M83 with a touch of Animal Collective, except I liked it better. I wished that I had lots of it on my computer or Ipod so I could walk around and ingest it slowly. It isn’t the kind of thing you would usually play for a room full of people to catch their attention. This is not because it isn’t really great, but because it’s subtle and creeps up on you. It was hard for me to imagine him as anything but an odd fellow sitting around hammering out track after track in some weird shack in the woods or something – his music sounds a bit lonely. I felt a kinship and wanted to play a show with him as soon as possible, which is finally going to happen on Feb. 6th in Oakland at the Flophouse, so read this interview and be sure to check him out! Continue reading
Meet SWANIFANT: Dylan Chapple (songs, production, vocals, guitar, field recordings, synths, percussion, harmonium, loops), Ryan Huber (drums, percussion, clarinet, piano, melodica, harmonium, organ, synths, vocals, field recordings), Danny Echevaria (violin and guitar), Jon Giusti (trombone, synths, harmonium, organ, circuit bends, effects and vocals), and Jon Hrabko (guitar, percussion, synths, effects, vocals). we’ve been a band in many different capacities and lineups since the summer of 2005. Continue reading