Saturday, July 12, 2014

Phish @ Randall's Island, Friday July 11th, 2014: Quick Recap

For the city that never sleeps, Phish capped a fantastic show before 11 PM last night. 
They seem to consistently play remarkable shows in the quasi-festival atmospheres they set up, like at Bader Field (Atlantic City 2012) and SuperBall XI (Watkins Glen 2011 - which was a real festival).  My thought is that a special type of creative energy lends itself to the band when Phish & co. has creative control over the venue: sculptures, signs, and specialty tents speckle the lush green field.  It's more of a playground than a venue like an outdoor pavilion or Madison Square Garden.  A playful spirit surrounds us there that infects the band too.

Plus, there's nothing better than free Ben & Jerry's.
Last night, I felt like I had time traveled to late August; could the band I was hearing be the same one that played three fun but unremarkable shows at SPAC just a week ago?  (What happened in Philly that I don't know about?  SPAC was great but certainly does not standout compared to the creations we heard from the Type II Machine last night.

To me, it seemed like the entire show was highlight after highlight.  
The first set was a solid conglomeration of fun and funkiness (see setlist below).  The Bathtub Gin far surpassed the one at SPAC, and I love 555.  I still manage to groan every time a song from Joy is played, but I sing a very different tune when it comes to the material from Fuego.  Some of the new songs impart a beauty that washes over a moment very nicely when placed well, which I think Waiting all Night was. 
Set 1
Moma Dance
Ya Mar
Bathtub Gin
Waiting all Night

My brother turned to me last night and goes, "why isn't Steam on Fuego?"  I didn't know the answer.  Anyone have input?  Was that a single?  Did it get ~scrapped~? 
The switch to the Type II Machine was flipped last night, and managed to generate a second set that never stopped... except when it did, at 10:50 P.M.  I'm not complaining (yes I am).
The DWD>Golden Age combo seems like a classic nowadays.  Is that just me?  The only song on Fuego that I get a little fed up with is... Fuego, because it seems like a glorified Time Turns Elastic, but it managed to stay hot and fresh and feisty last night.

Set 2
Steam >
Golden Age >
LxL >
Fuego >
Bowie >
E: Character Zero
Was there something in that Ben & Jerry's?  Because last night, I felt like I was drinking the Kool-Aid.  Everything seemed flawless.
If so, I am totally about the Kool-Aid. 
See ya tonight!

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.


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:


on creation of something great:

 Thomas the croissant:

the possibility of more Phish to come:


Click here for the full interview.

Peace, love, cuddly, but muscular,


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,


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,

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.