Museum of Bellas Artes
Sometimes songs appear out of nowhere in this magical age of the internet. Quite often these songs have no back story and often even when followed up up on, these songs, usually by very young and newly formed bands, still remain a bit of a mystery, since there really isn’t all that much to say. This is the double edged sword of the hype machine and we still have a long way to go before we learn how to tame such a beast. We digress…When we interviewed Air France a week or so ago, our attention was drawn to a track called “Who Do You Love” by a band we hadn’t heard of called “Museum of Bellas Artes” that has since become what is undoubtedly our jam of the month. Following up on this beautiful mystery track, we were lead to their Myspace and then to Pitchfork Media (who picked up on them via our Air France interview!!) and immediately wanted to know more about this trio from Stockholm Sweden. They generously granted us an interview and helped to shed a little bit of light on their still mysterious existence. Though their staying power as a band is yet to be determined, we here at minorprogression are very hopeful that this attention the web has given them (ours included) doesn’t make things sour for them and helps to push their creativity along in helpful and exciting ways.
Sometimes I am a truly lucky son of a bitch. I just got to take a trip to Oakland California for a week, leaving behind a colder than a well diggers ass Brooklyn, to bask in the surprisingly warm and consistent Bay Area weather and spend time catching up with both popejohnpaul12 and Tarnation1. Aside from having a glorious time telling stories and gallivanting about, I also got to take in two nights of great music. Aside from OUR FIRST EVER MINORPROGRESSION EVENT that took place at popejohnpaul12’s fabulous, sprawling, uber bohemian, living quarters ( aka Mr. Floppy’s) in the central Oakland area, I also attended a show at The House Of Nostromo, an great medium sized warehouse space in the middle of a strange dock community just on the other side of the 580 freeway. While my co-writers have already blogged some about the events that went down at Mr. Floppy’s, nothing has been said yet of our trek to House Of Nostromo, which we set out for in order to see a minorprogression favorite (and fellow SXSW attendee!) The Mae Shi. As these things sometimes go, we ended up leaving before The Mae Shi got to play due to my being tired, jet lagged and lacking in sobriety, but luckily I didn’t leave before watching Oakland band Brother play a great set and buying their seven song ep that I’ve been listening to ever since.
Here’s a video taken from that show:
Picking up where the other five left off, here is the remainder of my favorites of the year:
DEERHUNTER – MICROCASTLE
Deerhunter – Microcastle
Bradford Cox had a good year. Though things looked bleak when guitarist Colin Mee left the band in late 2007, Cox refused to loose his head and somehow released two proper albums and one full length bonus disk over the course of 2008. Add to this the numerous other tracks he posted on his somewhat notorious and usually highly entertaining blog and you only begin to get an idea of what I’m talking about. Although the Atlas Sound album that Cox put out early in 08′ is worthy of much attention as well, it’s “Microcastle”, the newest Deerhunter record, that got my juices flowing and has spawned many salivating mouths and eagerly listening ears over the past few months since it’s been released. Though I’d found Deerhunter an interesting band before, there was an obtuseness that roamed through large shady spots of their back catalog that often wounded my attention span. This isn’t to say that I don’t like to meander, or that I feel pop music should always be pristine and simplistic, but the more structured moments of theirs on albums past made me so swoony that when they got all cryptic and self indulgently abstract, I would be left a little disappointed. “Microcastle” is the Deerhunter album I always wished for. Their sense of structural gradualness is still present and the atmospherics are still just as important as the songs themselves, but we have an album that is mostly made up almost entirely of actual songs here and damn fine ones at that. The fat is trimmed, the guitars pave a more melodic course and Deerhunter arrive fully formed as the pop band I always sort of secretly wished that they would become. Yay!
Here they are playing at the now defunct McCarren Park Pool, a favored venue that we Brooklynites bid farewell to this year:
This is the first January to January that I have spent living in New York City. The job market is scary and unstable, though luckily I’m employed and still paying my bills. (Actually I may have just been fired so please give me a job if you are reading this living in New York and can give me some money.) It has been a long time since I left the city and realize that I am in need of a vacation. I don’t sleep much lately, spending long hours staring out of windows, wandering cold streets, or staring at glowing screens. It is too cold to sleep with the window open now and most days I don’t wake up before noon unless work or other extraordinary circumstances are at hand. All this said, I’m having a better time in the city than I was in the fall. I’ve just been reunited with one of my best friends in the world who moved here a few weeks ago from Africa and has been living on my floor. I have also met one of the more special friends I’ve made since moving here and it turns out that she’s my neighbor. My neighborhood is changing quickly and it’s inspiring and scary to bare witness to. There are possibilities for our country I’m excited about for the first time in my lifetime, and the beginning of an era of reconsideration seems to be at hand. Continue reading
Even if you haven’t been to a “Hootenanny” in person, chances are that you have been to one in your head. They are the sort of do it yourself, community venue happenings that most people only get to hear and dream about. In your whimsical, music venue fantasy life, you have a something like this stored away; where you are surrounded by people who genuinely love and care not only about music, community and self expression, but also and maybe even more importantly, for each other (strangers included) with love so big and outreaching that all involved feel like part of an ever growing family. But before I go on an on about how awesome the “Whitehaus” ( the place where the “Hootenannies” take place) is, or how strangely consistent and good the music and people that surround its mythology are, first I must offer up a little bit of perspective.
I know what you’re thinking and I don’t want to hear it. At least not right now. I am fully aware of how pompous and routine you think The Decemberists are and though I will easily admit that I don’t listen to them much myself as I used to, and I realize they aren’t as awesome as The Tiger Lillies, I still haven’t given up on them for possible greatness to come.
Of Montreal is not the sort of band that tends to wrack up casual followers. They are eccentric, prolific, outrageous, pretentious, and as self indulgent as they are self deprecating. They are also, without question, one of the most important pop rock bands making music right now.