All at Once
(compiled June 18th, 2011)
Spotify playlist (not all tracks show up…see full list below):
All at Once– The Airborne Toxic Event
Marching Theme– Neutral Milk Hotel
Death by Diamonds and Pearls– Band of Skulls
Goodnight Bad Morning– The Kills
Welcome to Your Wedding Day– The Airborne Toxic Event
Paradise Moonshooter– D Numbers
Tragic Magic– The View
Next Girl– The Black Keys
Virgin– Manchester Orchestra
Strange Girl- The Airborne Toxic Event
Fires– Band of Skulls
100 Other Lovers– DeVotchKa
Catastrophe and the Cure (four tet remix)- Explosions in the Sky
Glory Box– Portishead
*All song are available on my shared Dropox folder and my Spotify account!
This playlist was inspired by two recent highlights of my summer: Bonnaroo music festival (June 9-13 in Tennessee) and the Airborne Toxic Event concert (June16th in Sacramento, CA). Considering that both of these epic events (plus a conference in Santa Barbara and a bachelorette weekend in San Francisco sandwiched in between) happened back-to-back, it’s no surprise that the theme song for this list was “All At Once” by the Airborne Toxic Event.
Although the lyrics of ‘All at Once‘ (see below) suggest a slight negative tone, I actually associate this song with a more positive vibe, placing less emphasis on regret and more emphasis on the idea that life is short (especially when you’re always in GO GO GO! mode) and that many “fleeting opportunities” may pass you by if you’re not paying attention. I LOVE the intensity that builds up at 2:11 min into the song, as well as the line which soon follows: “we get old all at once, and it come like a punch, in the gut in the back, in the face”…It gets me EVERY TIME; Not that I, at 25 years of age, should be worried about “getting old”….BUT, it does spark my Fireball self to continue living life without regrets. Having entered graduate 4 years ago (immediately following undergrad), I’ve very much been isolated from some of the major life changes (secure jobs, marriage, kids, etc) that people my age are starting to go through. It’s kind of crazy when I think about how much “everybody’s changing” (yes, I do LOVE this Keane song) and how SO FAR removed I feel like I’ve become from the place where I grew up (which really doesn’t feel like “home” anymore).
“Then we look to be loved
In the rush we become
Some things we thought we’d never be
We were surprised by our how hard
Left weary and scared
By the nights, spent feeling incomplete (get chills)
And all those evenings swearing at the sky
Wishing for one more time.” (and more chills)
“We get old all at once
And it comes like a punch
In the gut, in the back, in the face
When it seems someones lied
And our parents have died
Then we hold to each other in their place
And I feel the water rising around us
Maybe thats ok
Yeh I feel the world changing, all at once
I guess it will be ok.”
One of my other favorite songs from their newest album (All at Once) that the Airborne Toxic Event played in Sacramento was ‘Welcome To Your Wedding Day.’ The You Tube video I linked to this song is the acoustic version, so it definitely has less of a “hard” vibe than the actual album version. However, I still can’t help shouting “And the sign says RUUUUUUUUN” at the top of my lungs during the song. I also really dig the build up to 1:50 and the acoustic solo that follows.
‘Strange Girl‘ is my other favorite from All at Once, but sadly they did not play it at the concert. I absolutely love belting out “It’s all been ARRANGED, everyone is telling me…It’s slightly DERANGED, everyone is telling me” (~1:21 and ~3:24 into the song)– Perfectly cathartic.
Other gems that were SURREAL to finally see performed live were: ‘Numb,’ ‘Changing,’ ‘Wishing Well,’ ‘Something New,’ and last but not least ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ (the song that made me fall in love with this band). I still get chills when I hear the violin intro to the song, which I was able to capture on video! (link) Another cool video I took was the Airborne Toxic Event covering Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”….SO GOOD.
Lastly, I was able to capture a lil’ speech that Mikel (lead singer/guitarist) gave right before the encore (which was the song All At Once, by the way). The main gist of the speech was Mikel talking about what inspires the band to continue doing what they do (so well, I must say), and went something like this:
“We get so many letters from all of you..so many letter from all of you….are lives and your lives are overlapping…the song just went out and they took on lives of their own, inside everybody’s else’s lives..and we just wanna say for that: THANK YOU…very, very much. That’s all we wanted. IT meant a lot ot us, so we wrote a song about it and it’s the title track of our second record that just came out. It’s called “All at Once.” This song is about all of you. Thank you all so much for being with us. Thank you so much.”
It was so refreshing to see how humble they were and how much they engaged the crowd. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Anna, the violinist, dive into the crowd face-first and crowd surf for a good 30 seconds. What a BADASS CHICK! She even let Gina and I snag a picture (see below) with her after the show! The same went for Mikel, who not only talked to the crowd before every song, but also paraded around off-stage and danced on bar counters for a couple of songs. Being so close to the front of the stage, Gina and I were lucky enough to also grab a photo (see below) with him at the end. UNREAL.
Check out “Siiiiiiiiick Snapshots” tabs for more pics from this show.
‘Marching Theme‘ was one of first songs by Neutral Milk hotel (suggested to me by my friend Andy (Field) Aiken) that really stuck to me. I really dig the song’s interesting layers of sounds and its seeming unpredictability, especially with the change up in dynamics at ~1:46.
Neutral Milk Hotel was an American indie rock band formed by singer, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Mangum in the early 1990s. The band was noted for its experimental sound, obscure lyrics, and eclectic instrumentation. After the release of Avery Island (the band’s first full length album), Neutral Milk Hotel became a fully-fledged band, as Julian Koster, Scott Spillane and Jeremy Barnes joined Mangum, the band now being based in New York City. Soon after this, they moved to Athens, Georgia, where many of Mangum’s friends had begun to settle, and the Elephant 6 recording company began to take shape. After this, the band went back to Denver, to record a proper follow up to On Avery Island. In 1998, Neutral Milk Hotel released In the Aeroplane over the Sea, which became their best known and critically acclaimed album.
‘Death by Diamonds and Pearls‘ was one of my favorite songs that Band of Skulls played at Bonnaroo this year. The cutting of the guitar mixed with the heavy bass drum just totally hits you full force. LOVE IT. The lil’ jam sesh at 2:34 is also pretty le siiiiiiiiick.
The other Band of Skulls song that I LOVE LOVE LOVE is ‘Fires.’ The beginning of this song is just so sweet (not to be cheesy) and sexy, and I think it’s really cool how that “sweetness” in the tone of his voice is quickly followed up by an aggressive guitar entrance (~0:49). “Come on, get up Romeo…Don’t you know what the time is” is one of my favorite lines.
Band of Skulls (recommended by my buddy Tyler Tratten) is a garage rock band from Southampton, England, consisting of Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals), Emma Richardson (bass, vocals), and Matt Hayward (drums). The group formed after meeting each other in college, and they quickly established themselves in the music and art community with a series of culturally inspired club nights in Southampton, London and further afield in Moscow and Tokyo. Their debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, distributed by Shangri-La Music, was released exclusively in March 2009. It was produced, recorded and mixed by Ian Davenport (Supergrass, Badly Drawn Boy) and recorded at Radiohead’s Courtyard Studios in Oxfordshire and mixed at the House of Blues studio in Los Angeles.
‘Goodnight, bad Morning‘ is yet another song by The Kills that I got hooked on. There is just something so peaceful and soothing about it. The soft, steady guitar blended in with the high-pitched piano reminds me of a lullaby, but an adult one, of course. 😉
My favorite part of the song comes in at 1:42: “Our love, our secrets, coming undone (her voice is so pretty here)…What a beautiful state we’re in.”
Although I had originally posted the Pretty Lights remix of STS9’s ‘Beyond Right Now’ song, I actually prefer the Ronald Jenkees remix…SO MUCH BETTER. There is no doubt in my mind that this song will get your BLOOD FLOWING, and I’m definitely going to include it on my next playlist.
‘Golden Gate‘ is another really awesome STS9 song. I really dig the mashup of the percussion, hand-clapping sound, and the keyboard. Having performed in San Francisco often, I’m wondering whether this song was inspired by the Golden Gate bridge…
Sound Tribe Sector 9 (abbreviated as STS9) is an instrumental band known for their live performances, which DRUM! Magazine described as needing a “bandage for when your chin hits the floor.” The band’s genre-blending sound is based heavily on instrumental rock and electronic music crossed with elements of funk, jazz, drum and bass, psychedelia, and hip hop. STS9 combines varied musical influences, genius live instrumentation and the latest in music technology, and has been described as an “eclectic stew of electro-acoustic pop, funk, drum n bass, hip-hop, ambient, dub and, and more integrates rhythm-section instruments with samplers, drum machines and soft synths.” Members of STS9 are: Hunter Brown (guitar/laptop/midi keyboard), Jeffree Lerner (percussion/laptop/handsonic), David Murphy (bass/laptop/midi keyboard), David Phipps (keyboards/laptop), and Zach Velmer (drums).
STS9 has released five studio albums, one remixed album, and one live DVD (Live As Time Changes) on their own label 1320 Records. As an independent artist, they have succeeded by using their live performance to conduct multiple concert tours and appear at music festivals. They have achieved significant niche popularity in a few areas of the country through frequent appearances, most notably in greater San Francisco Bay Area including Santa Cruz (YES! My hood!), Lawrence Kansas; the greater Denver area including Boulder; as well as Austin, TX, and the greater Atlanta area.
STS9 continues their heavy touring schedule with sold-out shows averaging 1,000s per city in San Francisco (YES!), Portland, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, New York City and with countless others. The band has played hundreds of shows including appearances at Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Winter Music Conference, Vegoose Festival and headlined a sold out Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado returning the next year to play TWO nights at the famed venue. In just the past year alone, STS9 has performed with Jurassic 5 (LOVE!), Tortoise, Digable Planets, RJD2, De La Soul, The Brazilian Girls, Prefuse 73 (LOVE!), John Butler Trio, Blackalicious, G. Love & Special Sauce, Saul Williams (LOVE!), Soulive, Cut Chemist and Xavier Rudd. HOLY SH*IT!
I feel so lucky to have been able to see them live at Bonnaroo this year! Their set began at 2:30 A.M. and was played until the sun rose. GLORIOUS.
‘Ripe‘ was a song of the GIVER’s first, full-length album In Light, just released in May 2011. There were many other songs (‘Saw You First,’ ‘Meantime,’ ‘Up Up Up’) released before this album that I had previously fallen in love with and had put on some of my past playlists, but ‘Ripe’ I hadn’t heard until recently.
Like many other GIVERS songs, ‘Ripe’ shows just how effortlessly they can change (within one song) their tempo and style of melody, whether it be jazz, funk, Cajun, blues, or pop. One of these changes is obvious at ~2:30, where the transition to a Caribbean type sound becomes obvious. One of my favorite parts of the song is at 3:49 when Tiffany Lamson (chick singer and percussionist) transitions her lyrics to a repetition as such: “Stop thinking, stop thinking, stop thinking, stop THINKING!” Her soulful, Southern raspy voice is so unique and hypnotic (especially when she trills her notes) that you can’t help but not wanna join in (even if you will NEVER sound as good, haha).
Ever since we met the GIVERS at a Ra Ra Riot concert in February, they have BLOWN UP, and are now starting to get lots of publicity. Just this past week, they became MTV PUSH Artist of the Week.
Besides ‘Xylem up’ and ‘Atalya,’ (one previous playlists) ‘Paradise moonshooter’ is another D Numbers song that I really like. I really like how the monotonous, rhythmic beat is continually disrupted by the addition of new sounds (especially the violin) as the songs progresses. Solid song to do work to.
‘Tragic Magic‘ was one of the songs I was initially hooked to after listening to The View, a Scottish indie rock band recommended to me by my buddy Calum Alexander Horn. I really like the overall happy-go-lucky feel to this song, despite the lyrics that would suggest otherwise: “And its just a case of tragic magic..When you can’t remember feeling fantastic”… “I’m not dealing with scum like you” (which I find amusing)
Although labeled as indie rocks, The View is known for incorporating various styles (punk, pop, alternative rock, pop punk, powerpop, folk, and acoustic) into their music. The View initially formed as a cover band at school, and later played more cover gigs and weddings around the Dundee area, including the Centenary Bar in Central Dundee and a caravan park in Arbroath. They released their first album, Tilted Hats Off to the Buskers, in January 2007 and performed at the Glastonbury Festival that same year. Later, the band released their second album, Which Bitch?, in Feb 2009 and their third album, Bread and Circuses, in 2011.
‘Next Girl‘ is one of my favorite songs by The Black Keys. I really like the way the song begins, and although I think the opening line (“I wanted love, But not for myself“) is pretty cool, I am kind of disturbed by the line the follows (“But for the girl, So she could love herself”). This girl should not need a guy’s attention to be able to love herself!
I kind of find the lyrics (see below) ironic in general because we all know that we’re creatures of habit and that we tend to be attracted to the same types OVER AND OVER again, even if we do think that we’ve “learned our lesson.” HAHA. (You all know it’s true.)
“My next girl
Will be nothing like my ex girl
I made mistakes back then
I’ll never do it again
With my next girl
She’ll be nothing like my ex girl
That was a painful dance
Now I got a second chance.”
I always smile at the line, “And I’m paying for her Beautiful face every day…” because I can only imagine what he had to do to keep this chick.
The Black Keys are an American blues rock music duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney formed in Ohio, in 2001. Having had the opportunity to work with Grammy Award-nominated producer-musician-provocateur Danger Mouse, a/k/a Brian Burton (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, The Grey Album) in 2008 to produce Attack and Release, The Black Keys veered a little bit away from the elemental rock & roll territory they’d mined so effectively on previous albums like their 2006 Nonesuch debut, Magic Potion, or their Fat Possum discs, Rubber Factory (2004) and Thickfreakness (2003). In November 2008, The Black Keys toured through Europe together with Liam Finn (who I’m gonna check out for future playlists) and in June 2009 performed along with The Roots and other acts at the 2nd Annual Roots Picnic on the Festival Pier in Philadelphia. (MY roots!)
‘Virgin‘ is by far one of my favorite songs on Manchester Orchestra‘s newest album, Simple Math. Right from the beginning, you are immediately drawn in by a voice in the background muttering something like: “manic depressive, masochistic, disco existentialism …”
I really like the heaviness to this song and the intensity of the lyrics that start at 1:50:
You tried to emphasize and side with both your ghosts (get CHILLS here…)
In time I swore I’d take the straight and narrow path but still won’t
And I hold his ear I’m only trying to do my job tonight
Kiss him on top his lips and crucify the fire!”
The last chorus (see below) is creepy yet intriguing at the same time, and I can’t help but wanna listen to this song AGAIN and AGAIN.
“Never really feel the same
Never gonna be the same
No it’s never gonna be the same
Never gonna be the same.”
‘100 Other Lovers‘ is one of my favorite songs by DeVotchKa, a band that my friend Jensyn Hyman suggested to me. They were also at Bonnaroo this year, although we didn’t get a chance to see them (BOO!) The background beat and lyrics of this song are so good (see below), and I especially like cool lil’ bass ditty that comes in after the line: “I guess it’s just as easy if you lie to me.”
“Oh the things I will believe
Ignore the hundred lovers
You got hidden up your sleeve.
The words come easily
And they sound so lovely
I guess it’s just as easy if you lie to me….
Everybody they got all kinds of advice
They want to tell you just how you should live your life.
But who exactly am I supposed to believe?
Am I supposed to let you walk away from me?”
For more than a decade, DeVotchKa has melded its influences – from Eastern European wedding bands to Norteno ballads – into an authentic and totally original blend of popular music. DeVotchKa spent their early career fostering important musical connections with fellow explorers like Calexico and gypsy punks Gogol Bordello (another artist I saw at Bonnaroo and ACL and LOVE!).
Since the release of their last album, 2007’s A Mad and Faithful Telling, DeVotchKa have built further on these successes, landing a song in a major national campaign for the Gears of War video game, while their live audience has grown dramatically, both at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, and sold-out venues like San Francisco’s Fillmore.
For 100 Lovers (their most recent album), DeVotchKa spent over a year refining their sound, taking multiple trips to their Arizona desert studio to craft twelve new recordings. The final product is the band’s strongest album to date, combining the energy and pop verve of ‘How It Ends’ (another really good song that I might just put on another playlist) with the lush arrangements of ‘A Mad and Faithful Telling.’ Guests on the album include members of Calexico, and Mauro Refosco, David Byrne and Thom Yorke’s go-to percussionist. With a full tour lined up for the spring and dates booked all over the world, 2011 is gearing up to be the biggest year for DeVotchKa yet.
‘Catastrophe and the Cure‘ (Four Tet remix) is such an awesome song by Explosions in the Sky, another band that was at Bonnaroo this year but didn’t get to see because we left too early. That ratatat sound in the beginning is so cool (especially when mixed with the string instruments) and I love the buildup to the “explosion” at 0:48 (very fitting for the name of their band…)
Explosions in the Sky is an American instrumental post-rock band from Texas who has garnered popularity for their cinematic, elaborately developed guitar work, narratively styled instrumentals, what they refer to as “cathartic mini-symphonies,” and their enthusiastic and emotional live shows. They primarily play with three electric guitars and a drum kit, although band member Michael James will at times exchange his electric guitar for a bass guitar. Drummer Chris Hrasky mentions being inspired by a few instrumental bands, primarily Dirty Three and Mogwai (a recent recommendation from a friend). They liked the idea of a band where there is no leader or main songwriter, with “everyone collaborating and has their own say.”
‘Glory Box’ is one of my favorite Portishead songs. It’s got elements of both sex and pain, making it all the more intriguing to try and understand the meaning behind it. It seems like she’s calling out her man, wanting him continuing being a man, (“So don’t you stop, being a man”) but also be a little more emotionally aware of the female state of mind (“Just take a little look from our side when you can”). You can totally feel the desperation in her voice when she sings, “Give me a reason to love you…Give me a reason to be ee, a woman…I just wanna be a woman.” My favorite verse in the song is:
“I’m so tired, of playing
Playing with this bow and arrow
Gonna give my heart away
Leave it to the other girls to play
For I’ve been a temptress too long.”
Portishead are an English musical group from Bristol, named after the nearby town of the same name. The group consists of Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, and Adrian Utley, while sometimes citing a fourth member, Dave McDonald, an engineer on Dummy and Portishead. Portishead is scheduled to perform alongside Arcade Fire, The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys in Portugal in festivals this year.