Sunday, March 16, 2014

Le1f's launch into mainstream



A dance major at Wesleyan University in CT and a big name in the NYC underground rap scene, Le1f is a movement artist.  Throughout his release of three original mixtapes and his most recent EP called Hey, his beats remain rhythmic and dance-able fit for ~*any*~ respectable kiki.

Hey serves as a preview of Le1f's upcoming album release with Terrible Records/XL Records, who boast big names like Adele, Solange Knowles, and Radiohead.  A dance-laden rendition of Wut was performed on David Letterman on Thursday night.  Always challenging the norm, Le1f sports an outfit off of 


Le1f has the talent to embrace art, music, and himself and combines them together in a meaningful way.  The bitch-I'm-flawless, no-apologies attitude that is exuded through his performances and lyrics is powerful and fun.  (Personally, I'm thinking Beyoncé may have taken a page or two from his book for inspiration for her newest album.)  His work is a welcome replacement to rap's usual obsession with misogyny, violence, and money.
 
Turn on any song off of Hey and prepare to be greeted by one-liners saturated with sass and the sudden urge to dance like a foo'.  (Blame it on those lush, bouncy beats.)  If you're into that, then you're welcome.

I'm butter like cocoa; lolololol, I'm loco.

Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mike Gordon on soy milk, foam raves, & the story of Thomas the croissant

Today, Mike Gordon and Scott Murawski spent some time on Reddit to field fan questions to promote the release of their new album, Overstep, which dropped today.  The following are a few highlights, including...

the world of Phish:

 Mike on Leo:

soy milk baths:
 telepathy:

Python:

on creation of something great:

 Thomas the croissant:

the possibility of more Phish to come:

AND FINALLY THE STUNNING REVELATION THAT MIKE IN FACT DID NOT SAY NO; IT WAS TREY.


Click here for the full interview.

Peace, love, cuddly, but muscular,

Elizabeth

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Overstep: Full Album Review

Mike Gordon is at it again. This prolific songwriter/soundmaker/noisecatcher has recently released his newest album, Overstep, available for free stream on the Rolling Stone website.  The tone of the album follows closely on the heels of The Green Sparrow (2008), sidestepping from the ethereal, spacy tone of Moss (2010) and Inside In (2003).  Lots of upbeat, funky bass and guitar abound, which is captured nicely by the cover art.

The album begins with the slow groove Ether, which seems to ease a listener into the weird world of MG. Featuring interesting chord progressions and trademark inscrutable lyrics, the song lays down a nice foundation of what's to come.

 The second tune, Tiny Little World, is the first time on the album we hear that bomb-droppin' bass that Phish fans know and love.  I really like the counterpoint it provides to the upbeat, sunny melody of the lyrics.  This song is, to me, the catchiest and most danceable one on the album.  The line It's the sauce that makes the dish makes me think that the Soulfood Man had a hand in writing the lyrics for this one.

Jumping is the first time we hear Scott Murawski sing on the album.  The driving acoustic guitar and the duo's vocal harmonies are notable.  Murawski's electrifying guitar solo remains whimsical.

So far so good. 

I'm pleased to report that I was present at Phish's debut of Yarmouth Road at SPAC on 7/5/13.  This song is most likely the most well known among Phish fans who stay current; the band played it eight times in 2013.  The placement of this song is excellent; it's a nice place to slow down, both lyrically and in tempo.  The verses remain characteristically poetic, but the prominence of the chorus makes it seem like a good platform to dive into a ~sweet jam~ ... as Phish began to explore last year.  I can't wait to hear the Mike Gordon Band's take on it.

The following tune, Say Something brings about a background of bouncing guitar and vocal lines.  The subtle dialogue that occurs between the two is engaging and energetic; I predict that this tune, along with the following tune, Face, will launch some serious disco jams this spring.  Breath: baited.

Face features an exposed bass and syncopated guitar line, making it feel spacey sequined funky.  I find myself caught up on this one because the song structure seems unique; I love the stripped down passage At first I heard the bass... it's unexpected and brings a renewed energy to the song... and it's super meta.  We're all about that here in the liberal arts.
A Different World features a guitar riff that's simple yet infectious; I love how independent it is while still interacting with the rest of the music.  It's earnest but still somehow distant... how do they do that?

The soaring solo in Long Black Line, the penultimate song on the album, brings the musical momentum through to the very end.  In this tune, it's the real star.

The album closes with the song Surface, which is saturated with lyrics and some spacey vocal effects sung by Scott Murawski.  The faded quality of the sound serves as a fitting outro to an impressive next album.

I can't wait to see what tricks the dudes in the MGB have up their sleeves for their spring tour.....!  I'll be at the show in North Adams, MA on April 5th.  If you're there too, come say hi!  I'll probably give you a glowstick.

Peace, love, and sequins,

Elizabeth

Monday, February 10, 2014

Two guys, One Piano...

...and one cello, for good measure.
 
Can we all take a minute to appreciate this YouTube channel, The Piano Guys?  I think it's just two dudes who play the piano and the cello, but man, everything I hear is amazing (although I admit, both are incredibly emotive instruments when played well).


Who do I speak to about hiring them to score my life events?  Why has YouTube become the #1 platform for high quality, self-produced music videos?  Shouldn't we have to pay money to become witness to this kind of magic?  And why is classically-trained musicians performing pop music such an effective gimmick?! (On that note, why can you skip advertisements after 5 seconds on the site?  Doesn't that function defeat the point of advertising?)  I am full of questions tonight.  I'll get back to you on some answers. 

All I know is that I want the Piano Guys to be the Haydn to my Prince Esterházy.  Is that weird?

peace, love, and emotional LOTR fanfic,
Elizabeth

P.S. If you don't totally hate the video I posted above (so, everyone), check out this one called Kung Fu Piano... cause music isn't transformative or majestic or anything.  kbye.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Day Picks

Valentine's Day is a good excuse for a lot of things.  Showering your loved ones with gifts, eating chocolate, shamelessly wearing red with pink... no apologies this week.  To me, I always associate the day with music - my college a cappella group hires itself out to students across campus to serenade their sweeties/friends/nemeses.  The truth is, I live for flashmobs.


So when V-day rolls around, I always feel get in the mood to listen to some themed music; here are my top picks for the day.

I Found You - Alabama Shakes 
Everyone went a little gaga over the band Alabama Shakes last year when they appeared on Saturday Night Live (at least I did, and ended up buying their entire album the week afterward).  This is one of my favorite tracks off of the album, Boys & Girls. 
 

Evangeline - 7 Walkers
To me, this sweet song evokes the a full moon in a sleepy summer bayou.  I truly feel like I'm swathed in the music with this one (I'm thinking those ubiquitous cymbal rolls are responsible).  The earnestness of the lyrics are reinforced through Papa Mali's distinctive and bluesy Southern drawl.

Skip to the Good Bit - Rizzle Kicks
This British hip hop duo continues to amaze me.  Their rhymes are thoughtful and their beats are catchy and unique.  If you like their sound, check out their *melodic chaotic* song called Earl Grey.  It's super meta.


Love is an Open Door - Frozen
As a female under the age of 25, I felt it was my public duty to turn the newest Disney movie into a raging success, so of course I went to see it in theaters.  Disney does a great job incorporating fun and original music into the plot of this film, and the song "Love is an Open Door" is no exception.  It's catchy and serves as a great plot acceleration.  Get ready to sing along to this one.

Standing on the Moon - Michael Patrick & the Suburban Hillbillies 
I love this Jerry song.  It's one of my favorite love songs, and this rendition steeped with saxophone is especially sweet. 

I Want You Back - Lake Street Dive
What I wouldn't give to sing like this.  Prepare to be amazed by this gutsy blues rendition of the classic MJ tune.



Positively 4th Street - Jerry Garcia Band
If you've been recently jilted, this is the song for you.  Bob Dylan does it well, but I love the way the JGB pulls it off. 

Sweet Emotion - Mike Gordon and Leo Kottke
This is a funny one.  Always the Aerosmith fan, I had to include this classic on the list, mostly because it's a sweet cover by one of my favorite collab teams of all time.

What are you favorite songs of the season?  Share with me. <3 p="">
Peace, love, and everything pink,
Elizabeth