Between Mountains: “But I know I don’t have to be in love to wanna meet you” – Live at Iceland Airwaves

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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I first saw Between Mountains at Iceland Airwaves 2017, just 6 months after they won Músíktilraunir, the annual Icelandic “Battle of the Bands,” and back then it was a very different band. At that time they were a duo — Katla Vigdís Vernharðsdóttir and and Ásrós Helga Guðmundsdóttir — and their name represented the fact that were from different fjords (in Westfjords region of Iceland) located “between mountains.” They harmonized beautifully together and incorporated elements of keyboard, xylophone, and accordion into their songs with a proficiency way beyond their years. Fast forward another 2 years and they are now a 4 piece live: Katla (the muse of Between Mountains) on vocals/keys, her father Vernharður Jósefsson on bass, her brother Valgeir Skorri Vernharðsson on drums (also drummer for Mammut and drum tech for Sigur Ros), and Salóme Katrín Magnúsdóttir on backing vocals/keys. While I enjoyed the duo before, I must say that I prefer the larger band much more and appreciate the clever, catchy percussion that Valgeir brings with his extensive experience on drums. The talent within this family is enormous (Katla and Valgeir’s brother is the talented front man of Rythmatik), and has me imagining how their spurious moments of “playing around the house” has led to the masterpieces we hear now. Please do yourself a favor and listen to their debut album, ‘Between Mountains’ (released on Nov 1 and produced by Arnar Guðjónsson of Warmland), because it’s AMAZING and chock-full of hits: ‘Little Lies,’ ‘I Don’t Want to be in Love,’ ‘What Breaks Me,’ and ‘Synthalag.’ ‘Little Lies’ is an incredibly beautiful track with lyrics that I’m sure we can all relate to (“My mind will fall apart again, now it’s only a matter of when, it rise up as I go down.. and there I stay, I reach for you, meet me halfway… I wonder if I’ll be the same, and how I will keep myself sane, confine my thoughts, tie every note… I told you a lie when I told you I’m fine”) and I’m so impressed that they lyrics were written by someone only 18 yrs of age. The same goes for the song, ‘I Don’t Want to be in Love,’ which has a style reminiscent of Sharon Van Etten (whom I absolutely adore). : “It’s been 3 weeks since we’ve first met and I thought I hadn’t screwed up yet. I haven’t felt this way for someone in almost a year. I missed it when it was gone but I’m scared that it’s here. Cause I’m not very good at this and I never show my cards. I am too afraid of it, I won’t let my guards. But I know I don’t have to be in love to wanna meet you.” WOW. I know we can ALL relate to this one even though we’d rather not admit it: Poignant, vulnerable thoughts laced with infectious, upbeat melodies and gorgeous harmonies. ‘What Breaks Me’ is another stunner, and you’re bound to sing along to the catchy chorus (“It’s what I can hold that makes me, what I’ve been told what breaks me”) that Katla and Salóme so intricately deliver with staggering vocals that echo one another like a call-and-response.  Still, the song that I feel STOLE THE SPOTLIGHT at The Hard Rock Cafe was, ‘Into The Dark’ (nominated for “Video of the Year” at the Icelandic music awards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp4AHG8OkRg), which Katla said she wrote when she was only 14 yrs old. UNBELIEVABLE. This one starts out soft but picks up on speed and intensity, and you can feel your adrenaline pumping as you anticipate the crescendo of the cryptic chorus: “It says you’re deeper in the sea.. I feel you’re face.. I see your face.” The harmonies in this one are gorgeous, and I made sure to mention that when a famous writer for Rolling Stone magazine was showering her with compliments later that night. Another song that stole the spotlight and had me all teary-eyed and emotional was Synthalag,’: “the colors in your eyes tell me stories, about what should have been and why I ran, the buttons your coat say ‘you’r sorry,’ cause they can hear and no one else can, and when I look up to the sky, I suddenly feel alive. The lights are dancing with the stars. And we just sit and watch.” OUTSTANDING VOCALS that will take your breathe away and transport you to a place under the arctic sky, looking up at the stars “together” with someone you love.  Between Mountains are certainly rising out above the rest and getting the visibility they deserve. I sure hope to see them in the states next year! ❤

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Hatari: “Dance of corruption, Trance of consumption, Greed and extravagance, Where do we go now?” – Live at Iceland Airwaves

 Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

Hatari’s show at The Reykjavik Art museum (11/8/19) this year was PURE PERFECTION, and one of the most phenomenal productions I have witnessed at Iceland Airwaves thus far. It has been incredibly eye-opening to watch how this band had evolved from when I first saw them at Kaffibarinn in 2017 (see review here), and I am constantly amazed at their efforts and execution in redefining the impossible. Known for their drive to defeat capitalism, Hatari started off their show with visual depictions (iPhone, computers, etc.) of how digital technology is trying is consume our thoughts and control our minds to perceive a reality that is not healthy. They also ended the show with this same theme, bringing us back full circle after unleashing our disgust for the “rampant hypocrisy that exists in this world.” Meticulously dressed in intricate, ornate BDSM attire, this transfixing trio — Klemens Hannigan (vocals), Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson (vocals), and Einar Stéfansson (drums, also the guitarist for the amazing band Vok!) — had our eyes locked on their every move. I was mad impressed by the visuals that the glow-in-the-dark whips dangling from Matthias’ wrists made as he swung them around frivolously while dancing. They were a perfect pairing to the glow-in-the-dark leather strap suits worn by the beautiful, alluring female dancers Sólbjört Sigurðardóttir and Ástrós Guðjónsdóttir who cranked up heated up even more. They also had surprise guest appearances by a rapper and a singer (wish I knew their names) that had us all hot and bothered. And if that wasn’t enough to raise our body temperatures many degrees higher, the EXPLOSIVE PRISM OF FIREWORKS shooting up from the front of the stage SURE WAS. I still recall my friend Erika and I gasping at that exact same moment as we marveled at this SIGHT OF ALL SIGHTS. What I find most compelling about Hatari is their ability to keep a straight poker face during this entire epic production. It’s their discerning dichotomies – their ability keep a straight poker face when delivering devilish, primal screams and disturbing, suicide lyrics to happy techno beats – that keeps us coming back for more. They exude a mystery and allure that is truly magnetic, and it’s this fascinating paradox that we can get enough of. Almost everyone around me knew all of the lyrics for ‘Spillingardans,’ ‘X,’ ‘Hatrið mun sigra,’ and ‘Biðröð Mistaka,’ just to name a few. After earning themselves Reykjavik’s Grapevine‘s “Best Live Band” pick of 2016 and 2017, and most recently a highly competitive top 10 spot in the 2019 Eurovision contest, Hatari’s fans are growing astronomically, and on a global scale. It’s only perfect timing then that Hatari is gearing up for a ‘Europe Will Crumble’ tour of 18 European cities in 2020. This is only the tip of the iceberg for these Icelandic renegades. Just you wait and see. See below for full videos of the show from my Facebook page.

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Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf 

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST (‘Lone Wolf’) featuring recent tracks from artists I either saw within the last year or ones that have released new music:

1) Lone Wolf – Georgi Kay
2) Caves – Gregory Alan Isakov
3) Bad Side – Kat Meoz
4) One More Thrill – Kolars
5) Hold on To – Liv Slingerland
6) Night Owl – Magic Bronson
7) Alone in Here – Easyfriend
8) Why So Serious – Alice Merton
9) Thingamajig – Miya Folick
10) Give Yourself a Try – The 1975
11) Fall Apart – Maps & Atlases
12) I Don’t Believe in the Sun – Grey Goon, Lauren Ruth Ward
13) Maggot – Lintronix
14) Little Black Death – Meg Meyers
15) Ventura – City of the Sun
16) Something’s Missing – Geographer
17) Heavy – VAVA
18) Atlas Please – Gengahr
19) Move – Milo Green
20) wow – Travis is a Tourist
21) Autopilot – Vok
22) Younger Still – Sean Fleming
23) God Complex – Georgi Kay
24) Hard of Hearing – Radical Face
25) I Call Bullshit – Highasakite
26) Keeper – Reignwolf
27) Shot Down – Emma Cole
28) Morning Light – Wilderado
29) Straight – Annabelle Lee
30) I’m Dangerous – Zachary Kibbee
31) Over – Doe Paoro
32) City Looks Pretty – Courtney Barnett
33) Soft Spoken – Naia Izumi
34) Bad Twin – SLUGS
35) Give a Little – Maggie Rogers
36) Hiding Bottles – Bear’s Den
37) Keep Lying – Donna Missel
38) The Jacket – Henry Jamison
39) Meet Me in the Morning – The Colour Coast
40) State Lines – Novo Amor
41) Seventeen – Sharon Van Etten
42) Dancing at the Blue Lagoon – Cayucas
43) Girls On T.V. – Tashaki Miyaki
44) Holding On – Jenn Champion
45) Ain’t No Grave – Zach Winters
46) Emeralds – Kingsburg
47) When Am I Gonna Lose You – Local Natives
48) Stop Talking – Miya Folick
49) Forest – Giungla
50) Black Halo – Black Pistol Fire

Queen of Failureland

Queen of Failureland

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST (‘Queen of Failureland’) featuring recent tracks from artists I either saw within the last year or ones that have released new music:

  • Queen of Failureland – Birthh
  • Ringing Bell – Maps & Atlases
  • Sunlit Juice – Henry Jamison
  • Movin On – GIVERS
  • Desire – Meg Meyers
  • VAVA – The Other Side
  • Loading Zone – Kurt Vile
  • Girls Go Wild – LP
  • Keep Up – Future Feats
  • Hell No – SLUGS
  • Gems – The Lagoons
  • If Love’s a Gun, I’m Better Off Dead – Veronica Bianqui
  • Still Let You Down – Day Wave
  • Rebel Babe – Lucy & La Mer
  • The Taste – Easyfriend
  • The Spot – Your Smith
  • Casanova – Rayland Baxter
  • Night & Day – Vok
  • Brothers – City of the Sun
  • The Tide – La Force
  • The Fear – Maps & Atlases
  • Guilty Pleasures – Georgi Kay
  • The Way that it Hurts – Dan Sadin
  • No Roots – Alice Merton
  • Electrify – Magic Bronson
  • Summer – WILD
  • Glow Worms – Sean Fleming
  • This Body – Baum
  • Learn – Jack Cullen
  • Rise Up Wise Up Eyes – IBEYI
  • Mexico – Highasakite
  • New Day Coming – Matt Corby
  • Treading Water – Little Monarch
  • The New Great Depression – The Moth & The Flame
  • Leave the Party – Miya Folick
  • Love is Wasted in the Dark – Geographer
  • Twenty-Five – Rett Madison
  • Missed Connection – The Head and the Heart
  • Erase You – Vok
  • Wake Up – Run River North
  • It Feels Electric – Zachary Kibbee
  • The Louder I Call, The Faster it Runs – Wye Oak
  • In the Morning.! – Andrew St James
  • Did I Offend You? – Lauren Ruth Ward
  • Chlorine – Birthh
  • Margarita – The Modern Strangers
  • I Dreamt We Spoke Again – Death Cab for Cutie
  • Heart Home – The Colour Coast
  • The Overpass – The Soft White Sixties
  • Young at Heart – Milo Green

Eric Long: “So hold onto the best, and let go of the rest, cause in the morning, them sweet things might be gone” – Live at Sofar Sounds in SF (Aug 12, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Grateful to have discovered the massively talented singer/songwriter Eric Long at High Sierra music fest this year, and even more grateful to have caught him at an intimate Sofar Sounds show in SF earlier this month. I found myself instantly memorized by his rich, raspy vocals and his blending of folk, Americana, and blues. He stands out as one of the few SF Bay area musicians playing a finger-style bottleneck slide guitar that draws strong similarities to Keb Mo, Taj Mahal, and Charlie Parr. SUCH A TREAT. Songs like ‘Dance with Me,’ ‘Hey Now Baby,’ ‘Leaving,’ ‘Maraschino Cherries,’ and ‘Pennsylvania on My Mind’ had me hooked hard, and I found myself playing his 2018 album, ‘A Long Way From Home,’ during my entire 10 hr drive back to LA the next day. ‘Pennsylvania on My Mind’ especially hit home, considering that I too moved from Pennsylvania to California over a decade ago and had to endure the mixed emotions of uprooting to a new coast in search of new adventure and new possibilities. ‘Hey Now Baby’ is also a beautiful track for the lovers, with lyrics that certainly melt the heart: “Hey now baby.. while your dreaming gets my heartbeat, you are stealing my breath away.” If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be ‘Maraschino Cherries,’ for the melody and beautiful violin, as well as the pensive lyrics that I think we can all relate too: “Still don’t know where I’m going, guess it’s time to move along, don’t know where I’m headed there’s just no where to know. It’s so easy to say, little harder to do, sometimes it’s the sweetest things that you can’t hold on to …Take alot of man to know what he’s after, a better man let it walk away.. What’s a good man to do without a women by his side… Sometimes it’s the sweetest things that fade away before too long. So hold onto the best, and let go of the rest, cause in the morning, them sweet things might be gone.” Eric Long’s music a sweet thing that I certainly want to hold on to, and I hope he will be playing for a long, long time. ❤

 

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Trousdale: “Just when you think you know someone, Lord knows you ain’t got a clue” – Live at Club Tee Gee (June 16, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

“Trous be told,” Trousdale will take your breath away with their heartfelt folk and striking harmonies. Reminiscent of powerhouse sister trios like The Staves, Joseph, and Baskery, the flawless execution of Trousdale’s harmonies will make you think that this talented trio of Georgia Greene, Loren Cole, and Quinn D’Andrea are related in some way. Perhaps it was their 4 year stent together at USC that built this strong sisterhood. Although I only made it to see the last few songs in their set (Ain’t Got a Clue, Wanna Love, and Love), it was enough to hook me in. I am very excited to see them again on Aug 16 at Echo Park Rising and Aug 22 at The Hotel Cafe. Get these dates marked on your calendars, cause they will definitely leave your feeling happy-hearted. Ain’t that the trouse! ☺️

”Ain’t Got a Clue’

‘Wanna Love’

‘Love’

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Aging Actress: “Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon” -Live at Club Tee Gee in LA (June 15, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I am STILL IN AWE of the ABSOLUTE MAGIC that I witnessed last Sunday night at the debut performance of Aging Actress, a new project curated by the phenomenal Lauren Ruth Ward and Chris Hess (of SWIMM). Both Lauren and Chris are incredibly impressive musicians on their own, but when paired up there is a chemistry that is undeniably explosive. Their vocal harmonies will slay you silly and leave you dumbfounded like “a deer in headlights.” THIS is what I believe is going to fill stadiums with a sea of devoted fans. I feel so damn lucky to have been one of the first with stars in my eyes from this divine duo. My favorite tracks were ‘Sing Pretty‘ (“In LA, I don’t believe a word that they say, I trust they’ll give me fun until the break of day”) and ‘Lassoing the Moon’ (“Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon”, #1 and #3 (below). Chris and Lauren also sang stunning versions of Lauren’s ‘Did I Offend You’ and Chris’ ‘Speak Politely,’ #5 and #4. These beautiful vocals were beautifully backers by Hany’s keys and John’s Sax. Do yourself and favor and head to Tee Gee’s this Sunday, 6/23 if you’d like stars in your eyes too. Be sure to grab a coat, cause you’re bound to be lathered in chills. 🤩

As an added bonus, you’ll receive a handcrafted, limited edition “zine,” handcrafted by the one and only Lauren Ruth Ward, containing original handwritten lyrics by Lauren and Chris. I luckily scooped up #4 of the limited supply!

***

‘Sing Pretty’

Living in LA makes writing about your feelings feel cliché,

I know I won’t stop trying to relate,

All the things we can’t escape, With words,

Try to sing pretty, try to say something you haven’t heard”

In LA, I don’t believe a word that they say,

I trust they’ll give me fun until the break of day.”

‘The Darkest Jingle’

‘Lassoing the Moon Again’

Our love is a like a window with a view,

That’s never opened for the weather make it real for you

..

I’m so proud of us, always rolling your eyes at me,

For having stars in mine at you,

Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon.”

‘Speak Politely’ (SWIMM song)

‘Did I Offend You’ (LRW song)

‘Sepia’

‘Aging Actress’

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Rett Madison: “Shame is a river, and I’ve crossed its waters, always sink… Hope’s on the other side, and I’ve got guilt I’ve got bricks to my feet… Love is a sunrise, where’s the light to eclipse my grief?” – Live at The HiHat in LA (March 8, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Photo credit: Nikki Neumann (website: Neumann.com  /  Instagram: @nkknmmn)

“Everybody says I’m just like you, is that one of the many things you suffered through… both know sadness too well I lost you too, waking up without you is waking up in hell, I never meet you 48, you won’t cry on my wedding day, you’ll never hear my children say your name, Jaqueline… I’m just pissed off and bitter, I couldn’t save my mother, I’m grappling with what I got left” 

FUCK. Tears just won’t stop flowing. Such a heavy heart listening to Rett Madison sing about the recent loss of her mother Jaqueline at The Hihat last night. It was very hard to hold back the tears, and it breaks me to think about the pain that this incredibly talented, hilarious, down-to-earth, and downright adorable person must be going through. Just last month at The Bootleg, Rett mentioned that her stage banter was a bit off because she “has just lost her mom” and “feels a bit weird.” ‘Jaqueline,’ ‘Death Don’t Make a Bitch An Angel’, ‘Flea Market,’ (see videos below) and ‘Don’t Know Better Till You Do’ (“I admit that pride gets my tongue, but you and I are of the same blood and you played the game better than I could.. when I should have done better by you”), were all songs that hit us a like a brick wall and triggered instant tearshed. Heavy and intense, you could feel the cathartic relief accompanying each lyric as Rett belted them vehemently from her chest. Rett also played ‘Shame is a River,’ (LOVE) ‘Pin Up Daddy,’ ‘Fleas,’ and ‘God is a Woman,’ all tracks (videos below) I had heard before and instantly connected with, wishing they were already available on Spotify. Her album is going to be an absolute masterpiece.

Rest Madison certainly stands out as my top 3 discoveries in 2019, and I will see her every chance I can get. To stay that I was stunned the first time I saw Rett play (which happened to be alongside Emma Cole and Wolf Bay at Madam Siam back in Oct and then later opening for Lauren Ruth Ward at The El Rey) would be an understatement. The minute Rett opened her mouth was the minute MY mouth would remain open, jaw dropped on the floor. Her West Virginia roots have fertilized a southern-raspy vibe that stands out in the LA music scene, carving a niche that not many can touch. She almost always starts her show with a gospel-like vocal intro called ‘One Year‘ (video below) that hooks you hard, stopping you in your tracks like a dear in headlights. Every song in her set is a masterpiece, and it blows me away that she is only in her early 20s. Since the Madame Siam show, I have been obsessively listening to her EP (God Is a Women, Mother’s Girl, Twinty-Five) over and over. I can understand some of the frustrations she mentions in ‘Twenty-Five’ (“My pals are all making plans and playing house… but I ain’t got a damn thing figured out”), but cannot understand her sense of urgency with her self-imposed time line: “Why did I romanticize where I’d be at 25… and I know that I know that I’ve still young but how come I’ve run out of time.” She is still SO YOUNG and is FAR FROM “running out of time.” She has already surpassed many her age, having written incredibly brilliant songs that raise ever hair on my body when I hear them sung out loud. Considering it was INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, it was also PERFECTLY FITTING for Rett to play ‘God Is a Woman’ (“I wish I had known back then that no love is a sin… cause GOD’S A WOMAN, She F*CKS A WOMAN, just as divine… that GOD’S A DIKE, and she made rainbows to give us a sign”) for her encore. I will forever put Rett up on a pedestal & broadcast her gift to the world until her fans are “drawing rainbows 🌈 in the sky to give her a sign.” ❤

Videos:

“If I was given one month to live, I’d carry our dreams in a bucket till we crossed our last wish off our list. If I was given one day, if I was given one day to live, I’d memorize your kiss with my clumsy mouth while you hold my shaky legs still. If I was given one hour, If I was given one hour to live, I would praise your body with every own god sin there is. If I was given one breath, if I was given one hour, if I was given one day, if I was given one month. If I was given one year, if I was given one year to year. I would plant that tree in the garden to keep track of our last seasons. If I was give one year.”

“Let me tell ya it takes more than a stitch to make me obedient… I never learned how to stay cause I was born a stray, yes I was born a stray”

“Shame is a river, and I’ve crossed its waters, always sink… Hope’s on the other side, and I’ve got guilt I’ve got bricks to my feet… I was 15 when I had my first drink, I’m on the sofa across from a shrink, keeping my mouth shut and grinding my teeth.. Got away as far as I could but that didn’t do me any good… love is a sunrise, where’s the light to eclipse my grief… Grace speaks of silence, I’ve been quiet but I only hear my own scream.”

“I’m so pathetic, I begged God to trade my life, with my mom’s, but you didn’t have that, you never asked me, you only wanted me to be happy… So I’m trying my best to be happy”

“Sometimes I think you live you through me, and you’re pissed you’re not directing the movie… If I die would you find a way to make my pain about you… When I go I already know that death don’t make a bitch an angel”

“Mamma never said I was second best, she loved a TomBoy in a Sequin dress…”

“I wish I had known back then that no love is a sin.. cause GOD’S A WOMAN, She FUCKS A WOMAN, just as divine… that GOD’S A DIKE, and she made rainbows to give us a sign”

 

 

Previous reviews (The Bootleg, The Love Song Bar, The El Rey, Madam Siam):

 

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Sharon Van Etten: “Halfway through this life, I used to feel free, Or was it just a dream? Now you’re hotshot, Think you’re so carefree, But you’re just seventeen, So much like me” – Live at The Fillmore in SF (Feb 26, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Lucky enough to finish my meeting in LA just in enough time to drive up to SF and catch the one and only Sharon Van Etten to a SOLD OUT crowd at The Fillmore ON HER BIRTHDAY (one of the greatest gifts she said she could ask for). It had been ~8 mon since I moved from SF, and there was great sentiment in getting back to the city where I first saw Sharon play (Aug 2012 at The Rickshaw Stop). Happy one year wiser to the female phenom who continues to advocate to “love more” (what a beautiful encore), and for that we love HER more. Besides dedicating ‘One Day’ to her mom who would have requested it, she dedicated ‘I Told You Everything’ (“a song about being brave enough to tell someone your deepest truths”) to a couple (“The Ruckers”) who gave her a card thanking Sharon for helping them to “let go.” She also dedicated a song to “all the mothers other there,” conveying her urge to protect her son (now 3 years old!) “from all the evil in the world.” A major highlight for me was when Sharon’s performance of ‘Seventeen,’ a song that I literally listened to SEVENTEEN TIMES IN A ROW and is my favorite track on the new album, Remind Me Tomorrow. I nearly DIED when she came over to my side of the stage and looked directly into my eyes as she shouted vehemently, “Downtown hotspot,  ” She describes ‘Seventeen’ as a “love letter to NYC,” to the “places I have lives, lost and found myself, let go of, and embraced,” and you can feel every hair on your body raise as you watch her reflect on the love/hate relationship and realize the “hotshot” that she wished she could have advised looking back: “I see you so uncomfortably alone.. I wish I could show you how much you’ve grown.” What a freaking masterpiece. “It feels odd singing about being 17 on your 38th birthday,” she said, “but I find comfort in the phrase ‘It is what it is’ that I saw recently on a pillowcase.” What an extra special night honoring an extra special lady. ‘Come back, Kid.’ We love you. ☺️❤️

Previous reviews:

 

https://beatsthatsetmypulse.com/2014/06/11/sharon-van-etten-weve-been-through-better-days-and-youve-tasted-all-my-pain-break-my-legs-so-i-cant-walk-to-you/

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Iceland Airwaves (Nov 3-5, 2017) – Review

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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I’ve worn plenty of wristbands in my day, but this one I wear with MOST PRIDE. Having been accepted to my second Iceland Airwaves Music Festival as a media pass holder is an opportunity that I do NOT take lightly, and I tried my best to capture the highlights of this magical, musical mystery tour.  Not only does this “land of Ice” know know to shatter glass ceilings and defy the odds of artistic potential and possibility, but it does so in a way that is warm (“land of fire”) and welcoming, and so in the least bit pretentious. The sky is definitely the limit for this innovative, ingenious, impressive Island. The music, people, and scenery is uncharacteristic of anywhere else.  ❤ 

Here are some of the bands that left a lasting impression in my mind and made me question the boundaries of human creativity (click on names or links below to see the full reviews): Hatari, Hogni, Hormonar, Kiriyama Family, We Made God, Omotrack, Rythmatik, Captain Syrup, Arstidir, Between Mountains, Axel Flovent, Mani Orrason, One Week Wonder, GDJYB (non-Icelandic), and Mammut (a personal favorite).  Since my review for Mammut was taking a very long to write (I often find it most difficult to write about bands that move me the most), I decided to write a combined review on their 2017 & 2018 Airwaves shows. Other Icelandic bands I have written about in the past are Asgeir, VAR, Vok, Kaleo, For a Minor Reflection, Sin Fang, Agent Fresco, Lay Low, Rokvva, Samaris, etc. See my reviews on Asgeir and Low Roar. See videos below from Airwaves 2017 when Mammut performed ‘Kinder Versions,’ ‘Pray for Air in the Water,’ ‘The Moon Will Never Turn on Me,’ ‘Walls,’ and ‘What’s Your Secret(these absolutely SLAY):

 

Kiriyama Family: “You’re looking for an answer, and try to dig deeper but you can’t always get higher” – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 4, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Photos courtesy of Peter Males

Photos courtesy of Peter Males
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Meeting the AMAZING ICELANDIC BAND who I hope will ALWAYS FEEL LIKE FAMILY.

Meeting the AMAZING ICELANDIC BAND who I hope will ALWAYS BE FAMILY,  Kiriyama Family. I was hooked HARD ever since I saw them at Secret Solstice Festival in June 2017  and could not WAIT to see them again at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival that same year.  They dropped my jaw to the ground once again at Airwaves and had me flailing my hands in the air like a madwoman. Formed back in 2012 by core members Karl Bjarnarson (vocals, guitar, bass and keys), Guđmudur Jónsson (guitar, bass and keys), Viđir Björnsson (guitar, bass and keys) and Bassi Ólafsson (drums and percussion), keyboarder Bjarni Ævar Árnason and vocalist Hulda Kristín were added in 2014 to complete this phenomenal six-piece family we see today.  All six are fantastic musicians in their own right, but know how to play their instruments and each others (known for several swapping during the set), proving they really do have that THE CHEMISTRY that they sing so proud and loud in their hit track track ‘Chemistry‘: “I’m not imagining this chemistry… so why don’t you just come with me.” We are surely not imagining it either. This chemistry is as real as it gets. You also don’t have to imagine the euphoria that they are feeling up there on stage, the pure joy that they have connecting with one another (they are all very close friends) and connecting with the audience who they welcome so comfortable with their down-to-earth demeanor and effortless, engaging charm.

Combining nostalgic 1980s synth pop with late 1970’s yacht/jazz rock and modern-day atmospheric, progressive rock, the band serves up a tasty experimental genre courtesy of their own “family recipe.” Armed with an array of synthesizers, guitar, and bass, Kiriyama Family combines influences of Steely Dan, Arcade Fire, Tame Impala, and M83, into a sounds that makes them stand out from many other bands I have seen (and I have seen THOUSANDS). They are a band where I am truly at a lost to find any sort of comparison (which is ALWAYS a good thing). Even more impressive are the gorgeous vocal harmonies of Hulda and Karl that will lather you in chills the instant you hear them. These harmonies are especially strong in ‘Innocence,’ one of their stand-out tracks that was #1 on Icelandic Music charts when it was first released. Check out a video below, where you can hear me shout “This one is the shit.” 🙂

Hulda’s powerhouse pipes will make you impulsively WAIL OUT LOUD to the catchy chorus as if no one was watching (at least I did, with carotid’s bulging out of my neck): “You’re looking for an answer, and try to dig deeper But you can’t always get higher lord … oh, my innocence is gold, I’ve got to wake up from this silliness, I’m not right for this. ”  What’s interesting is that this catchy chorus follows a particularly pensive intro (some of my favorite Kiriyama Family lyrics) that really embody the contant self-talk most of us battle: “I was deluded to say that, you could never find your preferable self. Seeing as it’s just a matter of perspective and you are the observer of own point of view. But just remember to relax, nothing is for certain and you will never pass as anything worth mentioning if you never step out of your comfort zone.”  Stepping out of your comfort zone is my main modus operandi, and I often try and remind myself that “you are only as good as your boldest experiment.” I always do appreciate the reminder, especially when sung by such soothing vocals. Other beautiful vocals can be heard in their lovely (#1 on their Spotify) love song ‘About You‘ (video below): “But now i only focus on one thing to help me set the pain aside, just a little something that’s more beautiful then i dear to describe… oh, there’s something about you.. I wanna be the one who sets fire to your heart.” My heart! ❤

Then there’s ‘Weekend,’ a funky, chill track showcasing Bassi’s perky percussion and Karl’s once again thought-provoking lyrics:  “And all of my friends got lost in the sands of time and doubts, as soon as the waves crashed down.” ‘Bassi’s tight rhythmic drumming also kicks off ‘Lightyears Away,’ a track that starts off slow but picks up speed in stride with the urgency of Hulda’ eager impatience for her love: “There is nothing I would rather do than sit here with you… but I’m a million light-years away from you.”  Another favorite is ‘Apart,’ (video below) featuring a happy hypnotic keyboard intro (courtesy of Guðmundur) and deep, funky bass (thank you Viđir) that does in fact “catch you off guard” when you learn the lyrics are not so happy: “All I can say is that we’re meant to be apart… And all I can do is hope that you don’t catch my heart off guard.” A final favorite (though I love them all) from the collection is ‘Anywhere But Here,’ which takes us on a exhilarating journey of groovy twists and turns that pair perfectly with the capricious call-and-response vocals between Karl (“sometimes you feel like all of our dreams are drifting away while we’re blinking, but I won’t let that happen on my watch…”) and Hulda (“don’t say that”). One of the most intriguing parts is when Karl responds to Hulda’s (don’t say that”) with “It’s Oh darling don’t get me started, I’m a changed man.”

It’s true that “We could be anywhere by here,” but do we really want to be? I think not. In fact, there is no where I would rather be than at their Saturday night Iceland Airwaves set. This is the family moment I have been “Waiting for,” and such a perfect name to their upcoming sophomore album to be release this spring.  Mad props to their awesome manager Jeff Rude who keeps me up to speed with this fantastic family. 🙂

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Hatari: “We are the screamer, We are the echo, and We are the chambers” – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 5, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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HATARI was BY FAR my favorite, unexpected discovery of Iceland Airwaves 2017. Their name, which translates to “hater” in Icelandic, suits the venomous vibe of their “experimental bondage  dark ambient darkwave goth punk synth” (check out their Bandcamp). Formed back in 2015, this transfixing trio — Klemens Hannigan (vocals), Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson (vocals), and Einar Stéfansson (drums, also the drummer for the amazing band Vok!)  — have already earned themselves Reykjavik’s Grapvine‘s “Best Live Band” pick of 2016 and 2017 (check out their comical interview).  Their BDSM garb and bizarre masks (worn mainly by Einar) perfectly compliment the cult-like atmosphere that they create with their dark, enigmatic electronic beats and their eccentric, bizarre behavior (crawling on the bar, swinging around poles, and screaming like the devil). What’s most compelling about Hatari is their discerning dichotomies: devilish, primal screams delivered with a stolid, poker face… disturbing, suicide lyrics shouted to happy techno beats… fearful, yet amused. They exude a mystery and allure that is truly magnetic, and I had such a hard time pulling myself away. Mad props to Hatari for helping the crowd unleash our inner demons and making us “haters” against all the rampant hypocrisy that exists in this world. AND, I later learned that Bjork was one of the unexpected crowd members that Matthías locked eyes when he swung down from the pole that show. ONLY IN ICELAND. ❤️ Can’t WAIT to see them again at Airwaves this year!

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Hogni: “Wonderful dreams that were uncomfortable scenes out of nowhere… Wonderful scenes that were uncomfortable schemes out of nowhere” – Live at Secret Solstice and Iceland Airwaves (June/Nov 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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“I’m in love I’m in love I’m in love can’t you tell?”… I’M IN LOVE with this song ‘Moon pitcher‘ that Hogni wrote for his fiance in his debut album, Two Trains, released Oct 2017 by Erased Tapes record label.  Hogni quotes: “I feel I tried my best to create an honest and passionate piece of musical work and I hope you will find the time and space to enjoy it as well as finding that connection. As a musician you aspire to create that other world, that sense of hypnosis.”  I def entered that other world, “CAN’T YOU TELL.” 🙂 ❤

Hogni was one of my top new discoveries at Secret Solstice 2017, and I could not wait to see him again at Iceland Airwaves 6 months later. His deep vocals and ethereal, experimental electronic arrangements simply SLAY, and I was so happy to hear the new gems from Two Trains, an album that he describes in the following words:

“The music on Two Trains is a blue-print of a period in my life where I collided with my own self, and at that point I felt the indifference between the personal and the universal, the absolute consciousness of life’s unconsciousness. Perhaps it’s a feeling that cannot be conveyed, like watercolours that just seem to wash off into the sea. But also a flashing mirage that you can enjoy before you arrive at your last destination.”

Hogni also alludes to this album as a personal expression of the tugging dichotomies he faces while living with bipolar disorder: “I’m bipolar. I got very sick and it has affected my life drastically. This album bears witness to it… (In) the last few years, the swings have decreased in size. When I was the most ill a few years ago, I felt terrible, even if you couldn’t see it. There was just so much going on, lots of fun, and even excitement about going to the psych ward for the first time. Like I was going down a new path for myself. But I haven’t seen it as exciting since then.”

Maybe this phenomena is what he was describing in his song (video below) where he sings:  “Wonderful dreams that were uncomfortable scenes out of nowhere… Wonderful scenes that were uncomfortable schemes out of nowhere.”

Previously known as frontman of the well-known indie rock band Hjaltalin and former member of ambient-techno group GusGus), Hogni proves that “Two Trains”, “change and metamorphosis” are his preferred method of transportation in this journey we call life. His “I can do whatever I dream” (lyrics in one of the videos below) is infectious and his tenacity for movement and exploration are an inspiration to us all: “My life is untethered, in many ways,” Högni says. “I try to focus on making good music and seeking inspiration, chasing experiences, travelling and finding adventures.

Aside from fronting two touring bands, Hogni has made time to score numerous theatre pieces, most notably The Heart of Robin Hood (dir. Gísli Gardarsson), staged by The Royal Shakespeare Company in 2011 and Angels of the Universe (dir. Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson), the Icelandic National Theatre’s 2013 adaptation of a well-known and loved novel and film of the same title.mHe has also written music for film and television, including a well-received score for short film Víkingar (dir. Magali Magistry, 2013) which won the Golden Rail award and was nominated for the Discovery award, both at the Cannes Film Festival. There really is no telling where his “Two Trains” will take us next. I don’t know about you , but I am surely ALL ABOARD. ❤

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Hormonar: “Our songs are like a female orgasm; there’s no one big explosion, but many high points” – Live at Secret Solstice and Iceland Airwaves (June/Nov 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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Photo credit: Ian Young (www.nounpusher.com)

Hórmónar (Whoremoans) definitely roused plenty of hormones at Iceland Airwaves this year, and it is no surprise that their fan base is multiplying rapidly. They were one of my top new discoveries at Secret Solstice 2017, and their liberating (shirts off at the ed), sexually-charged punk rock performance had both men and women in a tizzy. It therefore was no surprise to later find out that these 5 friends (Brynhildur Karlsdóttir-Vocals, Urður Bergsdóttir-Bass/Vocals, Katrín Guðbjartsdóttir-Guitar, Hjalti Torfason-Saxophone, Örn Gauti Jóhannsson-Drums) won the 2016 Icelandic Music Experiment. Brynhildur’s vocals were unpredictable, edgy, and hot, and plenty of men shouted “are you offering?!” in response to her asking the audience, “Are you HORNY?!!” In a previous  interview with the Rekyavik Grapevine, Brynhildur said: “Our songs are like a female orgasm; there’s no one big explosion, but many high points.” Their smoking hot, super-seductive,  “drive-you-wild” energy sparked some serious attention at Iceland Airwaves this year, earning them the “Peoples’ Choice Award” at the Grapevine Music Awards. I am so glad I was able to see them up close without getting burned. 😛 Can’t wait to see my three favorite songs (videos below) from their album ‘Nananana Búbú” once more at Iceland Airwaves 2018. ❤

 

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We Made God: Hail to this Higher Power – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 4, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

I remember nearly suffering a mild stroke the first time I saw Iceland’s own We Made God at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival back in 2014. At one point the lead guitarist Arnór Jónasson jumped off stage and started swinging his guitar back and forth in front of my friend Jensyn Lynn Hallett and I as he furiously strummed the strings, smirking a bit as we began squealing with joy. It was as if We Made God (Arnór – Guitar, Biggi – Drums, Maggi – Vox/ Guitar, Stúni – Bass) were all about making violent, cathartic, adrenaline-ridden performances and that spin you into another orbit. I’m just glad this epic encore didn’t spin me face-first into the table of guys below me! We Made God’s brain-bending live performances of math/progressive rock have been recognized by both domestic and foreign media, and their devout fans orbiting around the world can’t wait for the release of their third album next year. As of late 2018, Arnór decided to leave We Made God to focus more time on his role as lead guitarist in VAR (love their sound, see videos below) as well as supporting Maggi’s solo project, Mighty Bear.  With his talent, creativity, and breadth of experience, I’m pretty stoked to see what new direction Arnór is pointing his compass. 🙂  Be sure to check out We Made God, VAR, and Mighty Bear at this year’s Airwaves 2018!

Omotrack: “Why is life equalized, some people just can’t see… Everyone has blind spots except for me” – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 4, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

It was so awesome to have run into the talented brother duo (Markús and Birkir Bjarnason) front-men of Omotrack at Songhoy Blues (at Reykjavík art museum) only a few hours after catching their last set of Airwaves at the bookstore on Laugavegi. They’ve got such an infectious indie/pop/electro sound that kinda remind me of a funkier version of two Bombay Bicycle Club and Two Door Cinema Club. It’s pretty rare to see synths and brass (trombone, trumpet, saxophone) battling for the spotlight! The trumpet and sax were nailing their harmony parts! I loved all of the tracks in the set, especially the 4 below that I got on video: Hippo Trip (new), Imaginary Mountains, Old Habits, and Blind Spots. I especially love ‘Blind Spots,’ and assume that the lyrics were inspired by their experience of growing up as two Icelandic toddlers in remote village in Ethiopia called “Omo Rate” (which inspired the band name), witnessing disparities between people of different ethnicity and social class:

“People treated differently, due to their ethnicity.. Who can tell wrong from right, and sit back watch people fight… Why is life equalized, some people just can’t see… Life can’t be overpriced… Everyone has blind spots except for me.”

Not able to speak the local dialect of Daasanach or easily blend in, Markús and Birkir relied on each other for friendship, fun and musical entertainment and started creating music together as early as 5 and 3 years old. Now, in their early twenties, the band has put down some strong roots into the Icelandic music scene and recently placed third in Músiktilraunir, Iceland’s annual “Battle of the Bands” for young and emerging talent who are hoping to take their careers to the next level. “We tried to enter two years ago, but we only had two songs,” says lead singer and guitarist Markús. “We had been a band for maybe ten days. Now we have more music, and we feel more comfortable, so we just thought: let’s try this.” I’m so glad they did. Their bronze finish not only earned them a spot at Iceland Airwaves, but also a supporting slot with the contest’s winners, Between Mountains. Can’t wait to see them again at Airwaves this year!

So lucky to run into them later that night!

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Arstíðir: “I’ve been waiting for someone to say, That my patience was worth all the way” – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 3, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

ArstíðirDaníel Auðunsson (Guitar, vocals), Gunnar Már Jakobsson (Guitar, baritone guitar, vocals), Karl James Pestka (violin, viola, electronics, vocals), and Ragnar Ólafsson (piano, baritone guitar, vocals) are well-established in the Icelandic music community, having had two #1 hits in 2008 that put them on the map. After the release of their debut album in 2009, Árstíðir released a second album that was produced/mastered by the super talented Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm. The band has already toured 30 countries and it set to tour again once they release their third album (on the way!). With influence of Beck, Paul McCartney, Philip Glass, Neil Young, Takashi Tateishi, Árstíðir finds a home in everyone. I love the violin in the last video that I captured (see below). Feels like it should be in a chase scene in a movie! Make sure to check out their new album ‘Nivalas‘ release just this year!

 

Captain Syrup: Be sure to taste some of this! – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 4, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Be sure to snag of taste of this TASTY TRIO — Ríkharður Sigurjónsson (drums), Björn Heimir Önundarson (bass/trumpet), Kjartan (Cori) Kolbeinsson (guitar) — Captain Syrup any chance you CAN GET. I swear to the heavens you will NOT be disappointed. The electrifying, high-octane SONIC ADVENTURE of this impressive instrumental 3 piece will have you bouncing off the walls in no time. Described by an Icelandic newspaper as “Öfgafunk” (translates in English to “Severe Funk”), Captain Syrup tastes like maddening mix of math rock fused with fast, freaky funk and detonating drum & bass. My head nearly exploded into fireworks when watching Cori slap Björn’s bass while Björn blasted into the trumpet. They absolutely SLAYED their set and were hands down one of my top discoveries at Iceland Airwaves last year! When it comes to Captain Syrup, grabbing a taste with surely MELT YOUR FACE. 😛 ❤

Between Mountains: “Deeper in the city, I feel your face” – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 5, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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What a treat it was to catch this impressive YOUNG duo — Katla Vigdís Vernharðsdóttir (16 years old) and and Ásrós Helga Guðmundsdóttir (14 years old) — at Iceland Airwaves 2017, just 6 months after they won Músíktilraunir, the annual Icelandic “Battle of the Bands.” They call themselves “Between Mountains” because they are both from different fjords (in Westfjords region of Iceland), with a giant mountain between them. Not only do they harmonize beautifully together on vocals (even with mountains in between!), but they incorporate keyboard, xylophone, and accordion into their songs with a capacity that demonstrates proficiency way beyond their years. I’m so glad I got to meet both of them (picture below) after Rythmatik’s last Airwaves show at the Hard Rock Cafe last year. Lucky for us Katla is the sister of  Hrafnkell Hugi Vernharðsson (voal/guitar for Rythmatik), and it was much easier to say hello since I already knew him. What a crazy small beautiful world it is, ESPECIALLY in Iceland. Don’t miss Between Mountains at Iceland Airwaves 2018! ❤

Lucky to meet this impressive duo!

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Rythmatik: “Put my dreams in red balloons, Tie the Knots, Tie the Noose” – Iceland Airwaves (Nov 4, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Rythmatik is a four-piece Icelandic indie rock band consisting of Hrafnkell Hugi Vernharðsson (vocals/guitar), Pétur Óli Þorvaldsson (bass), Valgeir Skorri Vernharðsson (drums), and Árni Freyr (lead guitar). I first discovered Rythmatik when my Solstice/ Airwaves pal Jose Ramos introduced me to Hrafnkell and Petur during Kiriyama family‘s set at Secret Solstice 2017, quickly mentioning that their band won Iceland’s national “Battle of the Bands” (Sigurvegarar Músíktilrauna) back in 2015. I was immediately eager to check out their sound, especially after learning about their influence: The Smiths, Death Cab For Cutie, Manchester Orchestra, and Two Door Cinema Club. Well, the time finally came to see them at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival 5 months later, and man were they AWESOME. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Hrafnkell whip his hair back and forth as he shredded guitar right above the crowd (always sporting his trademark favorite sweater from his Grandmother). I also enjoyed watching Petur and Árni’s bass and guitar jousting and Valgeir‘s hypnotic percussion (he does play back up drums for Sigur rós after all!). Rythmatik’s fun, fast post-rockish guitar riffs will keep you feverishly entertained from start to finish, and you’ll find yourself ticking to a continuous rhythm almost as if you had a “rythma”-tik. 😛  Some of my favorite tracks from their collection are Sleepyhead, LinchPin, Bleed Like a Poet, Death of the Party, and Tiny Knots, and am really enjoying the debut LP they released July 2018. Be sure to check it out! ❤

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Lauren Ruth Ward: “‘Love is not loving’ mama, that’s what Bowie said… Think I’m aggressive? I’m just obsessive. Maybe I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” – Live at The Chapel in SF (May 25, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

If you haven’t yet seen the volatile, voracious VOCAL VIXEN that is Lauren Ruth Ward​, you best MAKE IT HAPPEN. Many of my favorite LA bands had described her as “truly something else” and a “MUST SEE,” and only NOW (after seeing her last night for the first time at The Chapel​) do I understand why she deserves to be up on that pedestal. With the (1) bluesy rasp and feverish headbanging of Janis Joplin, (2) sultry, seductive sounds of Sia, (3) heavy howls and fairy-like movement of Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine), and (4) lyrical cadence of Courtney Barnett, Lauren is the EPITOME of a TRUE ENTERTAINER. Her killer combination of good looks, memorizing vocals, and “come-hither” demeanor will stop you DEAD IN YOUR TRACKS, and you’ll find yourself swooning more than once throughout the set. She uses her impressive vocal control to deliver salacious, racy lines in songs like ‘Make Love to Myself‘ and ‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten‘ with crackling/panting/heaving undertones (as if on the brink of climax) and a gritty vibrato that provokes the sexual appetite in us all, especially the cougars who shouted out to Lauren with pride: “Mom’s are out TONIGHT!” I’m so glad this provocative powerhouse decided to crawl onto the speaker RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and allow to to capture some bewitching footage (def not camera shy) of her holding us under her spell. She even offered to shake my hand (along with others in the front row) which I found really endearing, and waved attentively at everyone in the crowd who was starring up at her in awe.

One of my favorite moments was when Lauren kicked off ‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten‘ howling “Thought you found Jesus in me while I lied there Fa-Fa-Fa-FAKING” and then later shouts (while looking in the direction of the drummer) “You should let me cut your hair to make you look a little BETTER!” (which is very fitting considering that she is a professional hair stylist). She also opens up about her sexuality: “I’m a dyke, dated guys, ain’t a crime, won’t apologize for my tribe.” Another favorite moment was her delivery of these two lines in ‘Well, Hell,’ the title track of her debut album: “Love is not loving” mama, that’s what Bowie said” and “Think I’m aggressive? I’m just obsessive. Maybe I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” LOVE LOVE LOVE. Her lyric cadence in this one reminds me of Courtney Barnett, which is ALWAYS A GOOD THING. ‘Staff Only,’ ‘Sheet Stains,’ and ‘Sideways‘ are my other favorites, along her her BRAND NEW siiiiiiiick song, ‘Valhalla‘ that has a super catchy chorus and a killer ending: “How did she do it, how did she do it, how did she do it? They all will ASK.” Yaaas. Can’t wait for this bad boy to be released! She also sang a song called ‘Scorpio Season‘ (not on her EP) which made me grin ear-to-ear as I thought to myself “OF  Of COURSE Lauren is a SCORPIO… The most passionate and sexual of all the signs.” I can definitely can SPOT MY OWN. 😛

A true knack for audience allure, Lauren Ruth Ward is building an intense fan base with her 60’s Rock n’ Role revival and this attention is only going to spread like wildfire over the next year. She makes it known in her title track (‘Well, Hell‘) that she is grateful for being heard (“I didn’t mean to make your head spin, I have a lot to say. I have a lot to say. I have a lot to say. Thank you for listening to what we have to say“), but WE are grateful for her voice, and her message. She is a MUST SEE, and I urge you to see her whenever she comes through your town. Just look for the gorgeous “Flower Child” in rainbow vintage pants and a rad, rainbow fringe.  ❤

Not only was I stoked to have met Lauren after the show (pic above) and to have learned that she was also a fellow East Coaster who moved out here about 3 years ago, but I was EVEN MORE STOKED to later learn that Lauren’s sister (Sarah) went to University of Maryland with my good friend Tony Awojoodu and is married to one of his close friends, Sasha. CRAZY SMALL WORLD!

Videos from the show:

“You’ve got a sign on your heart that says “Staff Only”. A Band-Aid life, you’re just staying high and lonely. Go on and treat me bad. Go on and treat yourself bad.” HELL YAAAAAAS. Such a fucking siiiick track. I love when she laugh “HA HA HA!” right after belting “The devil on your shoulders got a chip on his shoulder – ain’t that funny?”

“Got me a job and planned real good. But all the planning didn’t go as it should. I was distracted by the people walking faster than me. I’m going sideways. I’m going sideways.”

“Buddy, I don’t need you I can make love to myself. If you think I’m lonesome then you’re lying to yourself… I am not your honey. I don’t need nobody for nothing. I’ve got myself for loving. I’ve got myself for loving. I am not your honey and I don’t need nobody for nothing, no. I’ve got myself for loving and I don’t need nobody.”

Lauren’s siiiiiiiiick new song, ‘Valhalla.’ I love the enigmatic ending: “How did she do it, how did she do it, how did she do it? They all will ASK.” Yaaas. Can’t wait for this bad boy to be released!

“You were appointed the master of control. It won’t give you self control, you’re only getting older.”

“Thought you found Jesus in me while I lied there faking… Contemplation, admiration, salivation, masturbation : four – step Friday night. I’m a dyke, dated guys, ain’t a crime, won’t apologize for my tribe.” WOW.

Of COURSE Lauren is a SCORPIO! The most passionate and sexual of all the signs… Glad to also be one. xx

“Love is not loving” mama, that’s what Bowie said… Think I’m aggressive? I’m just obsessive. Maybe I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” OMG I LOVE THIS. Her lyric cadence in this one reminds me of Courtney Barnett, which is ALWAYS A GOOD THING.

 

 

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Rebound (Playlist: May 18, 2018)

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

May 18, 2018

FRESH NEW PLAYLIST (Spotify link below) inspired by awesome bands I saw in Austin at SXSW 2018 (Kid Queen, Magic Bronson, Caught a Ghost, The Lagoons, The Wild Now, Dawg Yawp, Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra, Black Pistol Fire, Dr. Joe, Abhi the Nomad) and others I saw in San Francisco/Los Angeles/San Diego (The War on Drugs, EasyFriend, Ramonda Hammer, SLUGS, Rival Cavves, Little Monarch, Penguin Prison, The Oh Hellos, Holy Wars, Ibeyi, Overcoats, Mt. Joy, The Drums, Alvvays, Planet Booty, Escort, Sal’s Greenhouse, Wild Child, Stelth Ulvang, Frenship, Yoke Lore, George Ezra, Noah Kahan, HAIM, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Zach Winters, Horse Feathers, and Dead Horses).  Playlist also includes new releases from (Geographer, Meg Myers, Leon Bridges, Ryley Walker, Trevor Powers (of Youth Lagoon), DonCat, The Colour Coast, Bishop Briggs, Charlotte Cardin, Courtney Barnett, Harrison Storm, GIVERS, the French Cassettes, Black Pistol Fire, Florence + the Machine, Matt and Kim, Derek Ted, Christof Van der Ven (of Bear’s Den), Brenda Carsey, Youth in a Roman Field (of San Fermin), Goodnight Texas, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Lord Huron, Betty Who, Wye Oak, Two Door Cinema Club, Wildling, Johnnyswim, Riley Geare (formerly of Unknown Mortal Orchestra), Milo Greene and Mastersystem, the newest project of Scott Hutchinson (Frightened Rabbit, Owl John), an irreplaceable LEGEND that we painstakingly lost to suicide on May 10. See below for my brief ‘Tribute to Scott’. A more in-depth one is in the works.

I chose kid QUEEN’s ‘Rebound’ for this playlist’s title track because I was INSTANTLY HOOKED to this song the first time I heard it at kid QUEEN‘s set at SXSW (videos on my Facebook music page), and I especially LOVE growling along to the part, “I don’t gotta alot of work to define my wealth, but I’m poor motherfucker with a wide array of shit to sell.” RAWR. “Call me crazy call me the rebound-er, I’ve been watching this city and I’m confounded.” YAAAAS. ❤ kid QUEEN was my FAVORITE new discovery of SXSW 2018, and I was so happy to find that they are based in backyard of SF, It was also cool to learn that their frontwoman, Shannon Harney, was formerly of Be Calm Honcho and played shows back at UC Davis at the same time I was there. This SEXY SASSAFRASS has sultry pipes that will STUN YOU at first hit and stop you DEAD in your tracks. I knew all the tracks after just one set and was already singing along the second time around. That’s at sign of a SUPER SOLID band. Every track was a hit and I can’t wait for more releases.

Tribute to Scott:

My heart is broken and is going to take some time to mend. Scott Hutchinson (Frightened Rabbit, Owl John, Mastersystem) was one of the most naturally-gifted songwriters of our generation with powerful, palpable lyrics that will stand the test of time. Fearless and transparent about his struggle with depression, he would often shroud his dark thoughts (“With my head in my hands I resolve to die alone”) with comedic charisma (one of the funniest dudes on the planet) and hopeful resilience (“oh how she plunges a knife into my suicide”). Songs POURED out of him, bursting open emotional floodgates that fed streams our of consciousness and clarity. Everyone knew his lyrics by heart, belting them out from their core in a catharsis that can only be realized firsthand. He had given away enumerable gifts (music, poetry, art, humor) to the world, and his generosity and loyalty to fans was like nothing else I had ever seen. Even after my tenth show, he still remembered the first time we met at The Belfast Empire. He always made time to meet and greet fans, even after sold out shows. If only he knew how much light he radiated into everyone around him.  But, the stark reality is that the “brightest lights cast the darkest shadows,” and it FUCKING SUCKS. His immense, intense imagination was both a blessing and a curse, and it’s devastating that he couldn’t dampen the demons. Scott, I am so grateful for you and your music, and the constant it’s been in my life when nothing else could. “When my blood stops, Someone else’s will nod… And while I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to earth.” Our ❤ will always bleed for you and the infinite “tiny changes” you made to earth.

What’s even more painful and ironic and that Scott recorded with the Fruit Tree Foundation, a Scottish supergroup of founded by Idlewilds Rod Jones and the DelgadosEmma Pollock to “raise awareness of mental health and challenge perceptions of mental health problems by creating great art.” Here’s a song he recorded with James Graham (another favorite frontman) of The Twilight Sad:

Scott helped others fight the same battle he could no longer fight in himself. Heavy heart.

Depression is an alarmingly dangerous devil and we must arm ourselves against it. We must learn from this tragedy and develop a stronger strategies for suicide awareness and prevention. My heart hurts so much to think about Scott’s family and band mates and all of the people around the globe who loved him. It’s just so incomprehensible. He gave so much for others but couldn’t give to himself. I have been listening to Mastersystem‘s ‘Dance Music album on repeat (it’s SOOOOO GOOD) and there are harbingers of suicide in at least half of the songs, especially A Waste of Daylight‘ and ‘Bird is Bored of Flying‘ (and I don’t it’s a coincidence that this put this as the very last track on the album):

Proper home‘: “I used to want to fly but now I don’t… And if the curtain drops tomorrow, I would not mind”

Peaks and Troughs‘: “It’s all peaks and troughs on the way to the grave”

A Waste of Daylight‘: “The world is far too big, and I’m too tired to conquer it… I missed the summer, but didn’t care… there will always be another if I make it to next year… I’m not sure what happening, but I’m trying to find an answer… At some point I’m just gonna give the fuck up.”

Bird is Bored of Flying‘: “Do you wonder why a bird is born a flying… Here comes the ground again.. my concrete safety net… as I leave the sky for the earth, I shed, shed my feathers and my small net worth. i want less, I want less, I want less… I’ve seen all that I can see, become what I don’t want to be, bird is bored, bird is bored, bored of flying…”

Scott insinuated a drowning suicide (especially) in many of his songs, and it’s so sad that he finally followed through on his vision:

Floating in the Forth‘:

“And fully clothed, I float away
(I’ll float away)
Down the Forth, into the sea
I’ll steer myself
Through drunken waves
These manic gulls
Scream it’s okay
Take your life
Give it a shake
Gather up
All your loose change
I think I’ll save suicide for another year.”

Swim until you can’t see land’:

“And if I hadn’t come now to the coast to disappear

The sea has seen my like before, though it’s my first and perhaps last time
Let’s call me a baptist, call this a drowning of the past
She is there on the shoreline throwing stones at my back
….
All I have is a body adrift in water, salt and sky.”

“With my head in my hands, I resolved to die alone
Now I’ve finally found a good reason to grow old…

A Good Reason to Grow Old‘:

“I was ready to drown in the afterlife, Not anymore…That I’ve finally found a good reason to grow old”

Break‘:

“Nothing’s worse than realizing who you’ve hurt
I didn’t bend and now we eat the consequence

Over the edge I can’t stop myself
Off the ledge throwing punches
Over the edge I can’t steer myself
All over again, I don’t want this…”

Oh what we all would have given for Scott to throw a few more punches before stepping off that ledge. He had SO MANY PEOPLE who loved him more than he will ever know. In honor of mental health awareness week, please PLEASE stay vigilant about those who are hurting and in need someone to talk to. You are never alone. Let’s try and get in involved with organization like Sounds of Saving, which is dedicated to raising awareness about depression and healing through music. The do so by creating videos of artists in their chosen setting playing the music which saved their life. Spread the ❤

 

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The Oh Hellos: “Nothing lasts forever, Some things aren’t meant to be, But you’ll never find the answer, Until you set your old heart free” – The Fillmore in SF (March 29, 2018)

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

The Oh Hello’s surely HAD US AT HELLO last night at their headline show in San Francisco back in March. This high-octane, Texas-bred folk-rock octet delivered an explosive, high-energy performance that SHOOK The Fillmore like a level five earthquake. Their energy was BEYOND INFECTIOUS, and watching ALL 8 members go APE SHIT on their instruments just had you instantly flailing your arms and stomping your feet to join the madness. I remember from first seeing The Oh Hellos back in 2015 at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and being BLOWN AWAY by extra-expressive fiddle, banjo, and bass players who were jumping around stage like pogo sticks while still managing to shred their strings in mid-air. This band first stole my heart back in 2010 when I came across ‘Hello My Old Heart,’ a song that would pretty much revived my pulse an had me staying calm during very, VERY trying times: “Nothing lasts forever Some things aren’t meant to be But you’ll never find the answer Until you set your old heart free.” Other songs like The Truth is a Cave, Eat You Alive, I Was Wrong, I Have Made Mistakes, Trees, Constellations, Grow, and On the Mountain Tall, Eurus, and Hieroglyphs, have also hammered on my heartstrings and instilled timeless messages that I continue to revisit (especially this one): “The sun, it does not cause us, The sun, it does not cause us to grow… It is the rain that will strengthen, The rain that will strengthen your soul. It will make you whole.” I was so happy they played this song (‘I Have Made Mistakes’) last night, cause Tyler and Maggie Heaths’ brother-sister harmonies absolutely SLAY, and you will be lathered in chills by the end. I would have LOVED if they played ‘Hello My Old Heart,’ but their set was chock full of string-saturated songs (YES) from their new EP, Eurus (a nice EP follow up to ‘Notos‘ released just last year), and this band would not have had time unless they played for 3 hours straight (an actually request by someone in the audience to which Tyler facetiously said would “lead to their demise”). Playing for 3 hours at their pace and their intensity would definitely require serious endurance, but I have no doubt they will get there someday. Even the bango player/percussionist had enough energy at the end to leap onto a high-rise speaker and bang on his drum from 6 feet in the air. EPIC ENCORE. You had me at hello, and you had me at goodbye. COME BACK SOON!  ❤

Climbing Trees‘ is one of my FAVORITES from this incredible folk rock ensemble. Coincidentally enough, yesterday (the first time I saw this song played live) was the birthday of my good friend Hillary who ALSO loves this song and loved CLIMBING TREES and other things (mountain, walls, etc.) Wish she could have been here with me!

LOVE THIS ONE. This timeless track (‘I Have Made Mistakes‘) will forever hammer on my heartstrings with lyrics that bring light even in the darkest of times.
“I have made mistakes, I continue to make them. The promises I’ve made, I continue to break them. And all the doubts I’ve faced, I continue to face them. But nothing is a waste if you learn from it… And the sun, it does not cause us to grow It is the rain that will strengthen your soul (OMG YAAAS)… And it will make you whole.” TRUTH BE TOLD.

I love the honestly and life wake-up-call element to this one. SO FREAKING GOOD:
“I’ve seen the true face of the things you call life
The voice of the siren that holds your desires
But death, she is cunning, and clever as hell
And she’ll eat you alive

Oh, she’ll EAT YOU ALIVE.”    YAAAAAAS>

The lyrics to this ‘This Will End’ just absolutely SLAY. Wow. So heart-wrenchingly beautiful:

“Heartache, I’ve heard, is part of life   ❤
And I have broken more and more

But I can hope how this will end
With every line a comedy
That we could learn to love without demand   (if only it were so easy)
But unreserved honesty

***

Previous videos from their 2015 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass performance:

Magic Bronson- “Say something, say it real quick, I’ll throw it at the wall and see if it sticks… I’m erratic, I need a fix, I’m brushing off the dirt of my fresh white kicks” – Empire Control Room at SXSW (March 16, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC to CATCH THE MAGIC once again after catching it last year at SXSW (see review here). Magic Bronson was my FAVORITE NEW DISCOVERY OF SXSW 2017 and were the only band (aside from Caught a Ghost) that I saw twice. The magic behind Magic Bronson lies in their ability to unleash the rebellious, primal, theatrical beast that lives inside us all. It only takes a few minutes of watching Michael Nicastro beat his chest, smack his face, stomp the stage, and pierce his lungs (roaring with chest out, arms up), for you join in this disturbed, erratic behavior and feed your inner beast. I’ve been to THOUSANDS of shows, and Mike still remains to be one of the most ENTERTAINING FRONT MEN I’ve ever seen. Again and again he delivers a performance comparable to Heather Leger as the Joker in Dark Night, and is even known to BREAK A FEW STAGES with his mighty “I am Mountain,” aggressive stomping.  I don’t think many bands can say they’ve buckled the first stage they set foot (Maggie Mae’s) on as part of their SXSW showcase. HAHA. When Magic Bronson makes an appearance, they LEAVE A MARK. The combination of Mike’s joker performance and captivating vocal delivery and Matt Lieberman‘s killer bass translates into an infectious dance experience of pop, rock, hip-hop, and electronic that I find difficult to compare to any other band (and I’ve seen thousands). I cannot WAIT until the next SXSW to see them again, and I hope they will spread their magic up the west coast very soon! After all, LA is not too far from SF. No excuses! 😛
(see below for full videos of the entire set)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Owl‘ is one of my Magic Bronson FAVORITES and I’m waiting with baited breath for them to finally release it. I love the intro line (“Say something, say it real quick, I’ll throw it at the wall and see if it sticks… I’m erratic, I need a fix, I’m brushing off the dirt of my fresh white kicks”), and I can’t help laugh/shout (simultaneously) when Mike puts his hands over his head and widens his eyes (impersonating an owl) as he devilishly shouts, “I can’t take MY EYES off of you… I’m just trying to to GET A RISE out of you.” Oh YES. A RISE has certainly been had. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I can feel your energy, running your your hands, makes the hair on the back of my neck just stand.. oh yeah, i Like to act tough, when I’m in your arms it’ll always be enough… ELECTRIFY!!” Yaaaaaaaas. I was highly entertained by the stomping around and shaking out of the hand for ‘Electrify.’ I also was dying at the part when Mike said “It was making me feel… LIKE A MAN” (dramatic impersonation). So much primal male emotion in this one.

 

 

 

 

 

“Good enough just doesn’t make it, kid you gotta take it into your own hands, OH MY GOD, it’s making sense, with all this time we’re sitting on the fences.” YAAAAAAAS. Freaking STALK THIS ONE: ‘Fences.’ I absolutely love roaring along to the chorus (not giving a shit about how loud I am) and joining in the rebellious rally of doing what you want and OWNING IT. I also love when Mike shouts “We finally made it” and follows with a villainous “HA HA” laugh like he Joker. Right after this song, Mike says, “so that one’s about you guys being so nice to each other all this time. We really appreciate that. We fucking LOVE that,” and then asked us all to hug the person next to us. We fucking love YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

“These are the days We get stuck in our ways Solving mysteries.. And these are the nights That we stay inside Making history (history, yeah, yeah)… Yea, what about that All the things that make you nervous Crooked cops and guilty verdicts Fires, floods, parking permits!” YAAAAAS! Another super catchy track (‘Nervous‘) that makes you want to go APE SHIT and scream at the top of your lungs. Makes me NERVOUS for the other people around met. SO FREAKING GOOD.

 

 

 

 

I like to think of this one (‘Knock it Off‘) as the anthem for rebels: “Go up to the bar and make some small talk, raise our glasses up high until we can’t walk, best friends fist fighting in the parking lot, cowboys dressed as cops telling us to ‘Knock it Off'” after which Mike and Matt point fingers at each other (mimicking cops) and then unexpectedly belt out “BUT WE WOOOOOON’T.” Yaaaaas. Raging like a rebel has never been so fun.

 

 

Parking tickets in SF are more than 65 bucks! Try 76…. I’m pretty sure we can all relate to driving chaos in LA, and I’m pretty sure we’ve all responded in the same way: “What the FUUUUUUUCK.” ‘Drive‘ is the newest addition to their set.

 

If this song (‘Wake Up‘) doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know WHAT will. There’s a reason they save this one for the anchor, cause it’s definitely going to anchor you as a Magic Bronson fan for life. The buildup and impeccable timing of Mike’s explosive “WAKE UP” outburst are definitely going to have your carotids bulging from you neck (at least I know mine were).

“I am a man
I am a mountain
I’ve lost track
But hey who’s counting?

Hey Scott Fitz Gerald
You got nothing on me
And hey Bob Dylan
I’ll give you something to read     (siiiiiick line)

So we sit around
Playing truth or dare
And for once the truth is all I want to hear
You’ll dig through my records
It’s all I really want
And when you do I know you’ll pick my favorite song… and it goes..”  (CHEEKY!)

Meeting the 6'6"  "Mountain" that is Michael Nicastro! One of the most entertaining front men to watch.

Meeting the 6’6″ “Mountain” that is Michael Nicastro! One of the most entertaining front men to watch!

 

 

Langhorne Slim: “Now tell me where do the good ones go, when they’re gone.” – Swedish American Hall (February 20, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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That time you meet one of the most talented folk/Americana artists out there (Langhorne Slim) after his show at the Swedish American Hall (as part of NoisePop festival) and nerd out with him about (1) effects of music on the brain (why music holds such strong memory), (2) playing music to old people (he loved playing to his Grandpa Sid and I encouraged him to play at nursing homes), (3) our perception of time (why time seems longer when we are in unfamiliar environments like when we are kids and everything is new), and (4) Langhorne (the town where he grew up but the one that I always remember my soccer team never being able to beat!). Never did I think I would have such a heart-to-heart with someone whose music had my heart when I first I heard it. Langhorne Slim is a true wordsmith whose way with words makes you feel so warm and welcome in his company, as if he was a long-lost friend that you have known for years. I couldn’t stop smiling when he was spouting off his deluge of stories (he’s certainly got plenty!) and providing context for how his various songs came to be (some in a dream). Aside from being one of the kindest, funniest, most humble human beings I know, he is one of the most AUTHENTIC, and you will never doubt that every word, whisper, belt, chuckle, howl coming out of his mouth is HIS OWN. He is not like the rest — just like Kurt Cobain (“I’m not like them / But I can pretend”) whose birthday he honored on Monday — but he does not pretend. You can certainly count on Slim NOT being slim with his self, his FULL SELF. ❤

Some of my favorite songs that he played tonight: Changes (“I’m going through changes, rattlin’ cages, I’m going through changes now”), Song For Sid (“Tell me where do all the good ones go, when they’re gone”), Back to the Wild, Coffee Cup, Again tonight and Be Set Free. It was also awesome to hear him cover Leonard Cohen‘s Tonight Will Be Fine” and Jackie DeShannon’s What the World Needs Now. Just also wish he played The Way We Move!

 

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Love Somebody (Playlist: March 13, 2018)

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

FRESH NEW PLAYLIST (Spotify link and track listing below) inspired by recent shows in January and February (many of of which were part of SF’s NoisePop Festival) –  Josh Jacobson, Typhoon, Mimicking Birds, Emily Afton, Future Feats, Wild Child, Andrew St. James, Wildling, Crooked Colours, Dagmar, Ha Ha Tonka, Belle Game, Geographer, DonCat, Langhorne Slim, The Album Leaf, Vakoum, Field Medic, Waxahatchee, White Knuckles, Banzai Cliff, King Krule, Derek Ted (of Owl Paws), Lucy Rose, Charlie Cunningham, tUnE-yArDs, X-Ambassadors, Tall Heights, Black Pistol Fire, Billy Rafoul, ZZ Ward, The Wedding Presentand new releases from Frenship, Chvrches (including a track featuring Matt Berninger of The National), Jose Gonzalez, and Tallest Man in Earth (along with new tour dates!)

I chose Frenship’s ‘Love Somebody’ as the title track because, despite the song being so damn catchy (I couldn’t listen just once), I really liked the overarching message: “Get out and LOVE SOMEBODY, and GET LOST on the way.” You never know what hard times someone may be going through or how much they could use a simple smile or “Hello” from a stranger. Get out of your own head and look up at the beauty in your surroundings, savor all the amazing people around you and the lil’ miracles that might sweep you off your feet. I’ve recently encounter many young lives being snatched up way too early (including the super-talented, massively-loved LA-music photographer, Emery Becker who met last year at SXSW), and it absolutely crushes me. No matter what your circumstances and what miserable mood you may be in, strive to be kind. Remember that everyone’s days are numbered and that only WE have the power to make sure those numbers count – every hour, every min, ever second. The fleetingness of life will always remain one of our greatest mysteries, and we should never take anything for granted. Hug harder, smile wider, lend more hands. You never know what impact the tiniest act of kindness may have, or whose lives they may be saving. I hope this playlist will encourage you to open your heart to “love somebody” and to “make tiny changes to earth” (now quoting Frightened Rabbit). And as my friend Paige Parsons (met seeing The Twilight Sad (Official)) says so beautifully, music is the best medium to do so because “music cuts through out cynicism and breaks down the barriers that we erect between ourselves and the rest of the world.” Check out her talk on this:

Help me amplify this message by sharing my playlist with friends and posting about it on social media. AND, if you are an artist featured on this playlist, reposting this playlist will increase the odds of Google not filtering this out on the web and improving your visibility (from what I’ve been told by SEO experts), so please care to share! 😀

(In order to access the playlist, you have to press the 3 vertical dots in the upper right hand corner and select download. You can then cancel the download immediately and still have access to the playlist. If you are still having uses, let me know and I can send you a link to download the tracks!

  1. Wake-  Typhoon
  2. Same Mistakes- FUTURE FEATS
  3. LOVE Somebody-  Frenship
  4. Get Out-  CHVRCHES
  5. Hummingbird- Wildling
  6. Rorschach- Typhoon
  7. Plymouth- Crooked Colours
  8. In the Morning!- Andrew St James
  9. I Want Nothing- The Belle Game
  10. Try to Be Someone-  DonCat
  11. Conversation- Owl Paws
  12. Lost- Emily Afton
  13. Suck-  The Wedding Present
  14. Gorgeous- X Ambassadors
  15. Home- White Knuckles
  16. Sparks Fly- Waxahatchee
  17. Don’t Ask Why- Black Pistol Fire
  18. Minimum- Charlie Cunningham
  19. Laura- Andrew St James
  20. Flow-  Crooked Colours
  21. backyard sorrow- derek ted
  22. Biscuit Town- King Krule
  23. Remember- Typhoon
  24. Little Lies-  Wildling
  25. Tumbleweed- Dagmar
  26. Expectations- Wild Child
  27. What Do You Want-  Dagmar
  28. Sorry Bout Tomorrow!- Andrew St James
  29. Foolish- Geographer
  30. Millennial Malaise-  Andrew St James
  31. Severing the Knot- Emily Afton
  32. Come Back To You- Crooked Colours
  33. The Way We Move
  34. Bloodlines-  Mimicking Birds
  35. Anyone Can Make A Mistake-  The Wedding Present
  36. Too Young To Die- Banzai Cliff
  37. Silver- Waxahatchee
  38. Bully- Black Pistol Fire
  39. poison poetry- derek ted
  40. Silver Screen- DonCat
  41. Foolish- Geographer
  42. Bully- Black Pistol Fire
  43. Koyo- Josh Jacobson
  44. Coast to Coast- tUnE-yArDs
  45. Changes- Langhorne Slim
  46. My Enemy (feat. Matt Berninger)-  CHVRCHES
  47. Think it Over- Wild Child
  48. An Opening- Charlie Cunningham
  49. Hipster Shakes- Black Pistol Fire
  50. Tethered- Josh Jacobson
  51. I Love to Dance- Langhorn Slim
  52. Danielle-  Banzai Cliff
  53. I Hope You Get It- Crooked Colours
  54. An Ocean- The Tallest Man on Earth
  55. Back & Forth- Wild Child
  56. Better Off- White Knuckles
  57. What Did Your Last Servant Die Of-  The Wedding Present
  58. Spirit Cold- Tall Heights
  59. Never Been Wrong-  Waxahatchee
  60. Poison Poetry- Derek Ted
  61. Let Me Go Alone- White Knuckles
  62. All With You- Ha Ha Tonka
  63. Owl Hoots- Mimicking Birds
  64. POWERFUL LOVE- Field Medic
  65. Ahead Of Myself-  X Ambassadors
  66. Be Set Free- Langhorn Slim
  67. Race To The Bottom- Ha Ha Tonka
  68. Still In Love- Thirdstory
  69. all i have- derek ted
  70. Driver- Billy Raffoul
  71. Sunlight Daze- Mimicking Birds
  72. Fade- Josh Jacobson
  73. uuu-  Field Medic
  74. With the Ink of a Ghost-  José González
  75. Twenty Two Fourteen- The Album Leaf
  76. Second Chance-  Lucy Rose
  77. ICE- Vákoum
  78. Movie Screen- Dagmar
  79. Blank Pages- The Album Leaf
  80. Ghost- ZZ Ward

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Charlie Cunningham: “What you got to live for, Now you got the whole of the world at your feet, And how much more can you pass yourself round?… Go, take a load off, Letting your wings unfold, And keeping everything down to a minimum” – The Swedish American Hall (March 7, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Lucy Rose jokingly said, “never bring an opener on tour who is better than you.” She was of course referring to Charlie Cunningham, the super-talented British singer/songwriter who was definitely more of a “show stopper” than “show starter” and who had you stopped in your tracks with HIS stunning tracks. Apart from his exquisite guitar work and super-soothing vocals, his incredibly pensive, poetic, introspective lyrics will seep into your soul and etch some long-lasting “Lines” (coincidentally the title of his debut album). His music reminds me a bit of Nick Mulvey and Jose Gonzalez, which is funny cause apparently Jose Gonzalez is one of the main musicians that Charlie’s record label curator (Magus) works with. Keen hunch! I l also hear a bit of Spanish guitar influence, which makes sense considering that Charlie traveled to Spain to create the music he wanted to play, free from the prerequisite of “having to read music” first. Charlie also learned to play piano before he learned guitar (at age 14), and I hope he brings both with him on his next US tour… which BETTER BE a HEADLINE one. His 45 min opening set at Swedish American Hall was way too short for satiation, and there was a unanimous request from the entire audience for him to keep playing after his last song, ‘Minimum‘ (video below), my FAVORITE (aside from ‘An Opening‘) and one that really hits home:

“How do I walk this earth?
So much work at first, it goes
How should I walk this earth?
So much worse the further, the further you go
Go, take off a load
Letting your wings unfold
And keeping everything down to a minimum
Everything a bit though
Tell’em what you know but all that you know, though
The truth be told you need it more than you thought
But you’re managing, that’s how you evened out, out
Keep on walking that line, the fine line
Between a wrong and a right
You get yours, I’m gonna get mine
Is that what you signed for?
They’re feeding you lines
To keep you on their side
It works every time
What you got to live for
Now you got the whole of the world at your feet
And how much more can you pass yourself round?
What you got to live for now
You got the whole of the world at your feet
But you’re still shaking?
You need to make up some ground
Go, take off a load
Letting your wings unfold
And keeping everything down to a minimum
Everything a bit though
Tell’em what you know but all that you know, though
The truth be told you need it more than you thought
But you’re managing, that’s how you evened out, out”  ❤

 

Mad props to Lucy for bringing him on tour with her! It was also nice that she invited him up on stage to help sing a few of her songs. I was so bummed when I missed seeing him open for Low Roar at The Chapel last year cause of being away for a work trip. This was certainly a super sweet an unexpected treat!<3 🙂

 

 

 

Black Pistol Fire: “Now you pick apart my love, When a push comes to shove, Say you had about enough, But you still call my bluff” – Ace of Spades in Sacramento (March 6, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

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Meeting Kevin McKeown, the WILD FRONTMAN of Black Pistol Fire!

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“Why settle for a spark when you can have the whole damn fire”… BLACK PISTOL FIRE. Ain’t that the truth! There is no reason set settle for a mediocre “rock band” band you can have the HIGH-OCTANE rock duo that I like to call a “younger version of The Black Keys but with more energy, power, and FIRE.” Both Kevin McKeown (Guitar, vocals) and Eric Owen (Drums) are SERIOUS SPITFIRES that will have your ENTIRE BODY AFLAME within seconds of them hitting the stage. I nearly spontaneously combusted when getting to see him perform ‘Speak of the Devil‘ (my favorite track which I got a full video of) from the photo pit and watching him SHRED GUITAR so hard you thought he might puncture skin. Eric (shirtless, hands wrapped), was equally as intense, pounding on his drums as if he is beating away demons. My heart was racing the entire set, especially when Kevin started karate-kicking his legs up in the air and jumping off anything that didn’t move (although I’m sure that is subject to change). He would also stomp in place mid-shred as if marking his territory like in flamenco, with his feet moving so fast you can hardly catch them!. Kevin also blazed a trail through the crowd as he dove face first to crowd surf while STILL SHREDDING guitar. I’m not sure why the name of their album (released May 2016) is ‘Don’t Wake The Riot,’ cause they certainly wake every riot that I have in me, especially with songs like ‘Bully’ (“I like it when you play too rough…”) and I cannot WAIT to see FEEL THIS FIRE again, hopefully next week at SXSW while sporting my badass Black Pistol Fire t-shirt (pic above). 🙂 WARING: You better see them before they blow up and only play huge venues. They have already been clocking it at #1 on the Canada Rock Billboard Chart for the past week!

Typhoon: “But if there’s nothing, then what’s that song that keeps hounding me? .. this is not your loss, this is your offering” – The Independent (Feb 13, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Having waited over SEVEN YEARS to see Typhoon live, this night at The Independent seemed all a bit surreal. What pacified me in the interim was catching the mindblowingly-talented mult-instrumentalist and visionary behind this 9-person indie/folk rock, Kyle Morton, live in concert at The Swedish American Hall back in Jan 2016. Although this was only second night on tour in support of first solo album, ‘What Will Destroy You,’ Kyle received a standing ovation from his SF crowd. New tracks like ‘Sickness Until Death,’ ‘Water Torture,’ and ‘Survivalist Fantasy,’ found new homes in our hearts, despite old gems like ‘Claws, Part II,’ ‘Common Sentiments,’ ‘Honest Truth,’ and ‘Morton’s Folk,’ having been rooted there for years. (see below for videos) It was Kyle’s emotional rendition of ‘My Little Darling Knows My Nature‘ that hammered on my heart-strings the most, especially after raising his hand to show his wedding ring, saying he “did all right” (for his little darling is now his wife): 

“Now my little darlin I’ll sing you a love song
One you can hang your hat on every night
I will be your witness if you be mine
I will be your witness if you be mine
I will be your witness if you be my wife.”

The allure of Typhoon lies in their pensive, visual narratives and its capricious, temperamental nature (just as the tropical storm would suggest). The songs that truly TAKE US BY STORM (Artificial Light, Young Fathers, CRP/ Claws Part 2, The Lake, Summer House, Hunger and Thirst, Common Sentiments) are those that sweep us off our feet with ease and move us on a suspense-ridden journey laced with sharp twists and turns. In fact, I thought ‘CRP/ Claws Part 2‘ was 2 songs when I first heard it, for there was a distinct, abrupt change in the rhythm and instrumental arrangement halfway through. The same goes for ‘Common sentiments.’ I adore the juxtaposition of Kyle’s harder guitar and deeper voice with Shannon’s softer strings (violin) and higher-pitched vocals.

We all had been waiting nearly 5 years for Typhoon to return with a new album, for their last one (‘White Lighter‘) was released back in 2013. This newest album, ‘Offerings‘ (the fourth in their collection) stood out to me as the most ominous and most mysterious, for many of the lyrics (and associated voice recordings) have you furrowing your eyebrow (especially mine!) and questioning the intent. ‘Offerings‘ opens with a thought-provoking prologue (“Listen — of all the things that you are about to lose, this will be the most painful“) before launching into a song (‘Wake‘) about about a man “preoccupied with memory, losing memory, and trying to recapture memory.” Kyle mentioned wanting to explore “the dual theme of (1) what it means to be a person stripped of all memory and (2) what happens to a world that loses all sense of history (read: modern America).” YAAAAS. ‘Wake‘ was certainly the perfect wake-up call for the album, and the startling, unexpected uproar of violins and guitar shredding together (2:30 min) immediately following this plea was absolutely PERFECT: “But if there’s nothing, if there’s nothing Then what’s that song that keeps hounding me? …. this is not your loss, this is your offering”. I love how it’s then followed by Kyle shouting “Asa nisi masa” as if an SOS cry for help.

Wake‘, ‘Rorchscah‘ and ‘Empiracist,’ are my three favorite songs on the album, and just happen to be back-to-back. Other favorites include ‘Remembering‘ and ‘Unusual‘.

Rorchscah‘ highlights Kyle’s concern of people losing all sense of history, describing the navigation of our world solely via tv, computers, and Iphones (“Eyes on the screen, We have all the information now, but what does it mean?”), which, despite “all our (technological) progress,” leaves us wondering “what happened to the life we lost, that got lost in the living?” (I love the call-and-response between Kyle and Shannon’s vocals). “All this fiction make me nervous,” Kyle mutters, as if to call out those who have so easily forgotten our history, the “sacrificial violence” (bloodshed, bombs), and who “edit” the “film in their brain.” TRUTH BE TOLD.

Empiricist‘ also has some intriguing lyrics, my favorite being “But you can’t help wonder, who is this person you celebrate?… It’s still your birthday, so blow out your past lives like they’re candles on the cake.” Wow. That certainly stings. Kyle dishes out even more cynicism in ‘Unusual:’  “This brave new world— It’s gonna take some getting used to… Yeah, it’s cruel and unusual, Can’t tell the punishment apart from the crime.” Nevertheless, my favorite lyrics from this album are in the song, ‘Remember,’ for it emphasizes urgency (“Just make your move before you have no move to make”) and constant curiosity (“How long can it take?”)  HECK YES.

I think it’s safe to say that these TyphoonOfferings‘ (in the form of their fourth album), offered more reflection, self introspection, and confusion than any before, all in all reminding me of a quote from Salvador Dali (who I thank my fellow music buddy Alex for mentioning): “What is important is to spread confusion, not to eliminate it.” AMEN. Can’t WAIT to see Typhoon again at Sasquatch Music festival at the end of May. 🙂

 

Kyle Morton (solo tour) at Swedish American Hall

 

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Josh Jacobson: “My heart is still on the fence I’m sorry, I have no defense I’m drowning in your confidence” – Cafe Du Nord (Feb 9, 2018)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So glad to have discovered the soulful sounds of music producer and multi-instrumentalist, Josh Jacobson, =at Cafe du Nord last month as part of a free show won  via Do The Bay. Having been raised in upstate New York (Ithaca) on a sturdy foundation of musical roots (his parents were musicians), Josh found a strong foothold in various genres ranging from classical and jazz to soul, R&B, and electronic. I was incredibly impressed by Josh’s ability to cultivate complex cinematic soundscapes just via his raw musical talent and loop pedal mastery (seriously – I told him to check out Tash Sultana who I figured he might also really respect). Within one song you could watch him jump from keys, to percussion, to guitar, to synthesizer, to vocals, and still wonder how he is able to weave it altogether into one cohesive musical masterpiece. Although some of his track have hints of Sohn, Allan Rayman, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Imogen Heap and Jack Garret (turns out he’s friends with Kevin Garrett) they all had a unique Josh Jacobson JOSHUA TREE branding unlike any others. In fact, Josh created his own record label (Joshua Tree Records) just last year to pioneer “a new platform for music and art that celebrates individuality and a mindful approach to life.”  He said it was in part inspired by Joshua Tree national park, which to him symbolized a place to wander with the eager eyes of a child and escape the captivity that sometimes accompanies adult life. That perspective reminded me of a recent quote I came across: The things that’s totally different between children and adult, is that children have the ability to spontaneously use their imagination to forget what’s bothering them and be inspired by every lil’ thing that crosses their path.”

Josh had himself tethered to the crowd from the beginning, and thus it could not be more fitting that he would play a song called ‘Tethered,’ a song that is “at its core a song about coming to terms with the fact that even the most meaningful connections can be temporary” and the we must “learn to live in a state of constant flux.” Ain’t that the truth.

Tethered,’ along with ‘Polaroids,’ ‘Fence,’ ‘I Need You,’ and ‘Return,’ (most of which he played that night) can all be found on his awesome debut EP, First Light,’ which was released in Sept 2017 and motivated his first national headline tour in early 2018. My favorite tracks of the set were ‘Koyo‘ and ‘Oceans,’ the first of which (video below) Josh introduced as a track he wrote deep in the woods under complete solitude. The layers of stunning harp that he loops throughout just simply SLAY, and I almost feel as if I’m walking through a magical forest someone in the jungle. Perfect example of a MUSICAL ESCAPE. ‘Oceans‘ also exerted a strong grip, pulling us into its sweet, sparkling undertow of swirling keys just right before crashing into us like a wave at the (the vocal part that drops in at 4:50 is such a rush!). Last but not least, Josh won over our hearts even more with two gorgeous, bone-chilling covers of Little Dragon‘s ‘Twice’ (one of my favorites) and Amy Winehouse‘s ‘Valery.’ He definitely added his own personal stamp in ‘Twice‘ with stunning harp sounds layered in between his sultry, soulful vocals. I still getting chills watching this over again! Can’t wait for him to return! SUCH A KILLER SHOW ❤ 🙂