(compiled February 2011)
Spotify playlist (not all tracks show up…see full list below):
Up Up Up– GIVERS
No Intention– Dirty Projectors
Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car– Iron & Wine
The Binarual Beat– Canvas Solaris
My Time– Minus The Bear
Changing– Airborne Toxic Event
Atalaya– D Numbers
Hiding My Heart– Adele
Windows are Rolled Down– Amos Lee
Home– Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Cannibal resource– Dirty Projectors
Sister– Mumford & Sons
Lament– Club smith
I Don’t Need Love, I’ve Got My Band– The Radio Dept.
Black Swan– Thom Yorke
Lover of the Light– Mumford & Sons
Girls With Accents– Fences
*All songs available on my public Dropbox folder and my Spotify!
GIVERS was a band that stole the stage when opening up for Ra Ra Riot concert (Gundlach Bundschu Winery) in late January. Their fusion of soul, funk, Caribbean and pop elements give them a unique, experimental edge unlike many other bands that I’ve come across before. While I had heard one of their songs (‘Saw You First‘) from an Austin City Limits (ACL) playlist and really liked it, I really had no idea how different the songs would sound when played live. The GIVER’s performance at the Ra Ra Riot concert was so raw and captivating that you could NOT take your eyes off the stage. It was obvious that the band was genuinely having the time of their lives up there and could not be happier making people smile with their music. They were such an uplifting, cohesive group and their chemistry was so contagious that you couldn’t help but wanna join in on their cheerful energy. ‘Up Up Up‘ was surely the song that elicited the most intense reaction from the crowd and had everyone jumping up up up all the way through. Another awesome song that I really enjoyed was ‘Meantime,’ especially with the fun little beat that begins about 2 minutes into the song, and the line “Don’t get stuck in the meantime, no such thing as the meantime.”
The chick singer, Tiffany Lamson, who also played percussion and the ukulele, was SO BADASS. Not only could she tear up those drums, but she could mesmerize you with her soulful, raspy voice that sounds like a mix between Stevie Nicks and Feist. Taylor Guarisco (vocal, guitar) is also a very captivating performer and dancer! His feet were moving so fast at one point during a song that I was SURE he was going to trip over some cords and eat it on stage! (Thank gosh he didn’t…)
During their very last song, Tiffany got so aggressive with the drums that her drumsticks completely flew out of her hands! Since I was right in the front (facing her) of the stage, I immediately scrambled to the floor and picked them up! (I was already in the mindset of diving for things, since earlier that day–when hiking Mt. St. Helena–I dove to retrieve a dude’s hat from the side of a mountain after it blew off his head….See picture below!)
The coolest part about the drumsticks was that they were all shredded and torn up from Tiffany’s siiiiiick performance that night (and also that I got them signed by both Tiffany and Taylor after the show). 🙂
Because the GIVERS and Ra Ra Riot show was at a winery, the whole atmosphere and vibe was much more laid back and chill than most concerts I’ve been to. Not only were all of the bands (Pepper Rabbit, GIVERS, and Ra Ra Riot) setting up all their own equipment, but they were all hanging out in the audience in between sets and even dancing in the crowd with fan while the other bands were playing. During the last half of Ra Ra Riot’s set, both Tiffany and Taylor of the GIVERS and Xander of Pepper Rabbit decided to come join my friends (Hillary Davis, Gina MacBarb, Jensyn Hyman and Jocelyn Berry) and I for an ULTIMATE dance party at the front of the stage. It was at that very moment that I recall thinking to myself, “Wow, music truly IS the BEST MEDICINE.” Up until that night, I was in quite a rut (coming off a few crazy, not-so-uplifting weeks), and the only thing that was able to shake me out of it was this live music and all-around good energy. (I seriously was on a high for the next two weeks after that concert…ENERGY LEGS were back in FULL FORCE!)
Another pleasant surprise about that show was the fact that I met two new REALLY AWESOME chicks, Jensyn and Jocelyn, who I’m still kicking it with (months later). I’m actually going to be going with Jensyn Hyman to Bonnaroo in June! Le sweeeeeeeeeeeet!
Speaking of Bonnaroo, it turns out that GIVERS are gonna be performing there this year for the first time. I remember talking to Taylor after the show about how playing at Bonnaroo was the group’s next big goal, aside from getting signed to a good record label, which they did a week later (Feb 1st) by Glassnote Records (the same label that Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, Temper Trap, and Phoenix are on). NOT TOO SHABBY! Taylor was a super friendly and super chatty dude (not surprising for a fellow Italian!), and it was from him that I learned about Dirty Projectors, another band that I put on this playlist. He told me that Dirty Projectors were AMAZING, and that it wasn’t until GIVERS toured with this talented group that they realized music was their calling. Dirty Projectors liked the GIVERS so much they asked them to open the entire east coast leg of their fall tour. Later in 2010, GIVERS brought their dizzying energy to South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival, where their infectious sound and jubilant live performance wooed Glassnote Entertainment Group’s legendary musical guru, Daniel Glass (hence them being signed by Glassnote soon thereafter).
I was so amazed by Taylor’s adoration and appreciation of Dirty Projectors (DPz) that I knew I needed to explore this band further. (I also later found out that my best friend, Amanda Shames, is also a huge fan of them, so I knew they’d be legit.) Dirty Projectors are a Brooklyn-based experimental rock band consisting of Dave Longstreth, Amber Coffman (vocals, guitar), Angel Deradoorian (vocals, keyboard, samples, guitar, bass), Brian McOmber (drums), Nat Baldwin (bass), and Haley Dekle (vocals). The group has released seven full-length albums through 2010, Bitte Orca (album five) being the most complete and most acclaimed album. Vampire Weekend frontman (and onetime Dirty Projector) Ezra Koeing describes this album as follows: “I hear big riffs that make me think of classic rock, so I think, ‘Is this Led Zeppelin deconstructed?’ I hear folk guitar picking and gorgeous strings, so I think, ‘Is this 60’s folk-pop re-imagined?’ But, as is usually the case, my lame attempts at categorization fade away and soon all I can hear is Dirty Projectors … It’s not Physical Graffiti for 2K9; it’s 2K9’s Physical Graffiti.” Speaking about the band in general, Ezra also says: “I couldn’t explain what I meant about ‘fucked-up American music’ six years ago and I’m not that interested in trying to explain it now. I just think it’s fitting to describe DPz with a phrase that’s been exploited by the worst of the worst and the corniest of the corniest, but has always had the potential to mean something rad: Uniquely American.” (I found it so cool that Vampire Weekend was tied to Dirty Projectors! Vampire weekend is one of my all-time favorite groups and you’ll find many of their songs spread throughout my playlists.)
After listening to the entire Bitte Orca album, I quickly found my two favorites to be ‘No Intention‘ and ‘Cannibal Resource,’ both DPz songs that I chose for this playlist. I LOVE the insane guitar picking in the beginning of ‘No Intention,’ as well as the beautiful harmonies of the chick singers throughout the songs.
“You love the danger in the night” is the particular line that I love to sing along with, and “when you wake up shouting ‘idea,’ is that a punishment” is a line that I always seem to laugh at (don’t’ know why but I find it funny). ‘Cannibal Resource’ is another uniquely awesome song and I really like the strange, yet infringing lyrics: “Look around at everyone, everyone looks alive and waiting…Okay, open your eyes, I think you’re more than a terrified witness, behind the arbitrary line.”
A week after the Ra Ra Riot concert, my boss (knowing my healthy obsession with music) came to me with her new Iron and Wine album, The Shepherd’s dog, and told me I’d probably like. Well, she was right –‘ became quickly attached the first song, ‘Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car.’ For some reason I feel like it’d be such a great song to cruise to on a road trip of something…especially down a long stretch of coastal highway or on an open dirt road heading towards the mountains. Ahh….
This same road-trip feel goes the same for ‘Windows are Rolled Down‘ by Amos Lee. It definitely has this vibe of new beginning and taking new paths, especially with the first line being “Look up child, the world is born.” I’ve always liked Amos Lee ever since I found out about him from a friend, Natasha Paghunie (and Jason White) back in 2009. It turns out that he’s actually from Philadelphia, where I was born and raised my entire life…so it was crazy that I never heard about him before. ‘Keep it loose, keep it tight,’ ‘Shout out loud,’ and ‘Sympathize,’ are some of my other Amos Lee favorites. Although I missed Amos Lee at ACL last year, I’ll have my chance to see him this year at Bonnaroo!
Bonnaroo will also bring me Mumford and Sons…(who I’ve wanted to see for SUCH a long time ever since I got hooked on them in October. I’m so jealous that my best friend Amanda Shames (the one who also likes DPz) got to see Mumford and Sons up-close-and-personal at a small show in Philadelphia several months back. I originally heard about the band from my music buddy, Nicole De Jesus, and quickly familiarized (obsessively listening to the entire album over and over again) myself with them and their magically magnetic folk rock sound. I love the entire Sigh No More album, especially the songs ‘Sigh No More,’ ‘The Cave,’ ‘Winter Winds,’ ‘White Bank Page,’ ‘Little Lion Man,’ ‘Timshel,’ and ‘Awake My Soul‘ (a few of which are on my previous playlists). ‘Timshel’ would always end up on repeat when I needed something to calm me down, while ‘Little Lion Man’ would always end up on repeat when I needed something to fire me up! (I especially love this line from Timshel: “We have our choices, these are what make man great, his ladder to the star”…Makes me smile every time)
For this playlist, I decided to choose two Mumford & Sons songs that were not on their Sigh No More album. ‘Sister‘ was a song that immediately found a connection to because of my incredible sister, Marissa Andreozzi. I miss her so much now that I’m out in California and she’s still back in Philadelphia. This song definitely gave me the shivers the first time I heard it. The lyrics are crazy powerful, and there is so much simple truth in the lines: “Don’t test the ones you love, It’ll only tear us down…If you want to feel alive, then learn to love your ground…LOVE YOU’RE GROUND!” I think the whole message here was that you shouldn’t push the ones you love during rough times, even though it make feel like the easiest thing to do (simply because you feel more likely to get away with it)…Bottom line: always appreciate your roots.
The ‘Lover of the light‘ Mumford and Sons song on this playlist was from their live performance at Splendour in the Grass (Australian music festival) in 2009. It’s such an uplifting, high energy song that when I listen to it, I almost feel like I’m right there at the festival (I wish!)…I especially like the moment about 4 min and 20 seconds into the song where he shouts “LOVE OF THE LIGHT” super loud and with such aggression. LOVE IT!
Mumford & Sons were recently in Oakland, California on the RailRoad Revival tour with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. My friend Kenny Deiner showed me pictures from the show and it looked pretty siiiick. It would have been cool to see Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros play together, but I’m gonna be seeing them both at future festivals. Aside from ‘40 Day Dream‘ and ‘Jangling,’ ‘Home‘ is one of my other favorite Edward Sharpe songs. I especially like the whistling element tied throughout the entire song and the idea that it’s a back-and-forth playful dialogue between the chick and dude. I also really adore the little background dialogue starting 3 min and 13 sec into the song (Dude: “Do you remember that day you fell out of my window?”…Chick: “I sure do, you came jumping out after me”…Dude: “Well, you fell on the concrete and nearly broke your ass and were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you off to the hospital…Do you remember that?”…Chick: “Yes, I do”…Dude: “Well there’s something I never told you about that night”…Chick: “What is it you never told me?”…Dude: “While you were in the backseat smoking the cigarette that you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you but I never told you till just now”…Very, very cute.
The ‘Binarual Beat‘ and ‘My Time‘ were two songs that I actually got from my friend George Jacobellis’s 2010 Compilations folder that he shared on Facebook a few months back. I had never heard of Canvas Solaris (experimental rock group from Georgia) before this, but I really like the interesting beats and dreamlike feel of ‘Binarual beat’ and figured I might explore some more of this group’s songs. Minus the Bear I had actually heard before from my buddy Andy Bluhm, who told me he really liked them. They’re an indie rock group from Seattle, Washington that consists of Jake Snider (vocals, guitar), Dave Knudson (guitar), Cory Murchy (bass), Alex Rose (synths, vocals) and Erin Tate (drums). Their sound has been described as “Pele-esque guitar-taps and electronics with sophisticated time signature composition. The theme of their latest album, OMNI, was supposed to capture their raw take on human sexuality, which is pretty apparent in the ablum’s first single, ‘My Time.’ If you listen closely, all the lyrics to this song are all very much provactive and sexy. ‘My Time’ is described as being a “rush of pure electro-pop lust, built around the glorious sound of another of the guitarist’s new toys, a vintage Omnichord synthesizer.” The Omnichord synthesizer has such a LE SWEEEEEEET sound and I look forward to hearing it mixed with the progression rock/pop hydrid that this band is known to be. (It turns out the my friend Tyler Tratten, is also very much a fan of Minus the Bear, and I’m looking forward to hitting up a live show with them whenever this group hits the Cali scene.)
‘Changing‘ was the official THEME SONG of this month’s (February) music playlist. It is a single off of Airborne Toxic Event’s newer album, All at Once, released in March 2011. I could not stop playing it over and over again in my car for days. I STILL get excited every time I hear the catchy little keyboard jingle introduced at the beginning of the song. The heated (and somewhat abrasive) delivery of the lyrics is actually kind of thrilling, and I can’t help but wonder what the story behind this song was. “You go home alone and you’re checking your phone and you’re looking at me like I’m something you own” is a verse that always kind of gives me chills, as if I can feel the rage behind the singer’s voice. I can’t help but sing along with the last verse:
“All these buckets of rain, you can’t forget about it, you say I never tried. I am a gentleman, didn’t I answer every time that you call, pick you up when you fall…But you never listen at all, You were just always talking about changing. Guess what I am the same man.”
SO GOOD…especially delivered with the deep, masculine voice of Airborne’s lead singer.
I adored Airborne Toxic Event the first time I heard their sound. It was actually my sister, Marissa Andreozzi, who told me to listen to ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ after she heard it on her Sirius radio. I immediately fell in love with the unique blend of rock music and orchestral arrangements, which is very prominent in ‘Sometime around Midnight’ (on one of my older playlists). It turns out that Airborne Toxic Event has actually played concerts with the Louisville Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. (BADASS) They are an American indie rock band from Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California and the band members consist of Mikel Jollett (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Steven Chen (guitar, keyboards), Noah Harmon (electric bass, upright bass, backing vocals), Daren Taylor (drums) and Anna Bulbrook (viola, keyboards, tambourine, backing vocals). In 2009, the band toured almost constantly in North America (sucks I didn’t know about them then!), the U.K., and continental Europe, performing during the following summer festivals: Coachella, Lollapalooza, T in the Park, Fuji Rock, the Reading and Leeds Festivals, Oxegen, Latitude, FM4 Frequency Festival, Pukkelpop, A Camping flight to Lowlands Paradise, and the Sasquatch! Music Festival.
‘Atalaya‘ by D Numbers was a song I heard through Nicole De Jesus. I also put another one of his songs, ‘Xylem up‘ on one of my previous playlists. D Numbers is an artist who explores a wide range of feelings and tonalities that range from melancholy ambience to aggressive rock to ecstatic funk. I find his songs very good to run to….they def help get that adrenaline going.
Another song that Nicole De Jesus recommended to me was ‘Black Swan‘ by Thom Yorke, the lead vocalist and principal songwriter of Radiohead. It’s a pretty dark, somber song and I’m not sure if it was in the recent (2010) movie Black Swan, but it’s certainly in line with the movie’s precautionary moral about greed and about pushing yourself to extremes. “You cannot kickstart a dead horse, you just crush yourself and walk away” is one of my favorite lines from this song.
In contrast to the dark, serious tone of ‘Black Swan,’ ‘Lament‘ by Club Smith (recommended by Raudel Hinojosa) is a very uplifting song with very energetic beats (especially in the song’s intro). The ending verse –“With pointed eyes and baited breath, I wait for her I wait for her…”– is cute, yet intriguing and leaves you feeling hopeful. Club Smith is an English Indie Rock/Electro Indie band based in York and Leeds, UK. The band currently consists of Sam Robson (lead vocals/guitar), Neil Clark (keyboard/backing vocals), Lee Clark (bass guitar/backing vocals) and Vijay Mistry (drums). The band are known for their energetic live performances and have toured venues across the UK including as an opener for Two Door Cinema Club (another band that I LOVE and have plenty of their songs on my older playlists).
Another uplifting song on this playlist is ‘Don’t Need Love, I’ve Got My Band‘ by The Radio Dept., an indie pop band from Lund, Sweden. ‘Heaven’s On Fire,’ is another Radio Dept song that I really like, hence it being on one of my older playlists.
‘Sail‘ (recommended by Nicole De Jesus) was Awolnation’s first single, debuted at #30 on the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs chart on the chart week of February 10, 2011. This song has such an addictive beat and you can’t help but not want to be restless and do aggressive things after listening to it (at least that’s how I feel)…especially with “Blame it on my A.D.D!) as the main, repetitive line throughout.
Awolnation is an American indie rock band that has performed with Weezer and MGMT, and has recently released their debut album Megalithic Symphony digitally on March 15th, 2011.
‘Girls With Accents‘ by Fences was yet another song recommended to me by Nicole De Jesus (I know, she’s a ROCKSTAR, really). Fences is a 5-piece indie rock band from Seattle, Washington who has only recently made their debut album in 2010 with the popular Canadian Indie band, Tegan & Sara (who I also LOVE and have seen in concert a few years back). With the chorus of this song being “I’m f*cking up, I”m f*cking up, I’m f*ckign up everything…”, it’s safe to say that this is THE song to listen to when you’re in a crappy mood and having one of those “World on my shoulder days” (as Dane Cook would say).
Thanks to everyone who’s helped me discover all of this music! I have a new May playlist coming up soon so look out for a new post later this week! 🙂