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: