(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!)
On + Off- Maggie Rogers
Truth Is Heavy- Benjamin Booker
Surrender- Walk the Moon
Gimmie- She Keeps Bees
Up All Night- The War On Drugs
Main Girl- Charlotte Cardin
The Wild Kind- Silversun Pickups
Keep In Mind- Pierce Brothers
Protest Song- Broken Social Scene
Continental Breakfast- Courtney Barnett And Kurt Vile
High On Humans- Oh Wonder
Believe- Benjamin Booker
Friendly Fires- Silversun Pickups
Spirit- The Belle Game
Murder to the Mind- Tash Sultana
Untogether- Courtney Barnett And Kurt Vile
Split Stones- Maggie Rogers
Invisible- Minus The Bear
Breezy- She Keeps Bees
Latchkey Kids- Silversun Pickups
Up Again- The Belle Game
The Slow Drag Under- Benjamin Booker
Towers And Masons- Broken Social Scene
Fear Is Like A Forest- Courtney Barnett And Kurt Vile
Silversun Pickups PICKED ALL OF US UP at the Fox Theater Oakland last weekend! They made us laugh, weep, rage (the trifecta of emotions) will killer tracks like Royal We, Latchkey Kids, Friendly Fire, Wild Kind, and Lazy Eye (of course!). Not only is Brian Aubert is not only a phenomenal musician, pushing the limits with different soundscapes and emotion, but he is FREAKING HILARIOUS and super animated (always has his hands up in the air when telling stories). He also pays so much close attention to his fans through the entire show (more than most musicians I’ve seen), and will often point out people in the audience that he knows. Towards the end, he even bentr over the stage to fist pump my music buddy Nori Nakayama (#1 fan) who has been following Silversun Pickups since 2007 and has seen them >25 times. I have so much respect for Brian coming out to say hi (despite having probably been exhausted) and taking time to chat about tour life and music in general. I was laughing so hard when he and I were finishing each others sentences while geeking out on bands that we both love: The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile, Future Islands, Arcade Fire, and The National . He has a particular appreciation for Arcade Fire and their ability to consistently recreate themselves in new albums that bring forth new elements/ingenuity not present in their older material. I nearly DIED when we both cried out that ‘Creature Comfort‘ is by far the best song on their new album and proceeded to sing “God, make me famous, if you can’t, just make it painless” in unison. He also was excited to hear that Courtney and Kurt just played at the Fox a week prior and he told me stories of how he first met them both. He even had a CRAZY COOL story about how Courtney made his wife’s water break (a story she won’t let him live down, haha); Turns out Brian and his very pregnant wife saw Courtney for the first time 2 1/2 years ago and then his wife went into labor that same night. NUTS! He also said how Osheaga was his favorite North American festival and that he would love to keep going back there. We ended up on that topics cause I mentioned having seen them both at Sasquatch (2012) and BottleRock Napa (2017). WHAT A NIGHT picking the brain of this SILVERSUN PICKUP! I will always look back on this with such a big goofy smile. 😀
I find it SO FREAKING EERIE that I immediately compared Courtney Barnett to Kurt Vilenearly 4 years ago when I first saw her at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and NOW, they are TOURING TOGETHER after the recent release of their collaborative album, Lotta Sea Lice. Kurt Vile was someone that I had been following since his ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’ days thanks you his brother Paul Vile who directed me to his set at Sasquatch 2012 (arguably the best lineup of any US festival I’ve been to yet). Courtney and Kurt reminded me of one another in so many ways – stitching songs together with threads of rock, grunge, and folk, and doing so with a carefree, nonchalant charisma that plagues all who listen. I am in awe of their ability to whip up to witty narratives about obscure observations of the mundane. Their collaborative albums is a testament to the beauty of a creative, comfortable companionship between two eclectic music makers that complement each other’s chords finished each other’s sentences (literally). Their charming ‘Continental Breakfast‘ track has Courtney and Kurt singing back and forth about the frustration of maintaining their long-distance friendship (“I cherish my intercontinental friendships; We talk it over continental breakfast”) and the monotony of life on the road (“In a hotel in East Bumble-wherever; Somewhere on the sphere, around here.”) I also really loved their song, ‘Fear is Like a Forest’ (“Fear is like a forest, The dark of the unknown; Love is like a promise, That you’ll never be alone”), which was actually written by Courtney’s wife, Jen Cloher (talented musician who opened the show). I also enjoyed the manifestation of Courtney and Kurt covering each other’s songs, with Courtney’s version of Kurt’s ‘Peepin Tomboy’ (‘Peepin’ Tom’ on this album) paralyzing me with the arresting apathy of her delivery. I also really enjoyed Kurt’s take on Courtney’s ‘Out of the Woodwork.’ But, the MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF THE NIGHT were when Courtney and Kurt covered Belly’s ‘Untogether’ (“You can’t save the unsavably untogether”) and Gillian Welch’s ‘Elvis Presley Blues’ (“I was thinking that night about Elvis, Day that he died, day that he died”). Courtney’s vocals absolutely SHINE on this on, and the bread and range of the vocals are more apparent than ever. My heart was gushing a bit with the beautiful harmonies between her and Kurt. I’m sure Mr. ELVIS PRESLEY himself would have definitely approve. It was so refreshing to watch the playful banter between such seasoned musicians and I kept smiling when I saw Kurt’s classic yelps (“Whoop!”) making Courtney laugh throughout the set. He then had the entire audience laugh when he said that “Lotta Sea Lice” is the “only sea lice you want to have.” A powerhouse performance by a powerhouse pair of proper pals.:D ❤
Having first discovered San Fermin last year at BottleRock Napa, I was eager to check them again at The Independent with Low Roar , who I was already a big fan (and whom they met at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in 2013). I learned that their tour circuits led to play alongside some of my favorite artists (courtney barnett, alt-J, Sylvan Esso, Lewis Del Mar), and their close ties with Alt-J could possibly explain the sax/trumpet in their new track, ‘In Cold Blood.’ On tour to promote their new album, Belong, San Fermin’s previously dubbed “chamber pop” has exploded into looser, livelier full-force operation of 8 incredibly talented musicians OWNING their instruments and having THE TIME OF THEIR LIFE doing so. It is rare to see a collection of keys, guitar, drums, trumpet, sax, base, violin, and vocals complementing each other so perfectly in deliriously infectious arrangement that keeps your head bopping all night long. San Fermin’s energy and charisma were simply magnetic, and you couldn’t help but notice the entire audience sharing the same music buzz. It was refreshing to see the comfort and chemistry of all 8 musicians together on stage (as if best friends playing in their living room), and the dueling duets of vocals (Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate) and brass (John Brandon and Stephen Chen) had you grinning ear-to-ear. Also, the swirling strings and expressive of violinist/vocalist Claire Wellin (former Broadway actress) had me in awe. Allen’s baritone voice simply SLAYS, and I can’t help but be reminded of The National‘s Matt Berninger in his cadence, pitch, and smooth stage presence. After the show I learned that Allen (from Philly as well!) writes his own music and recently joined Kyle Morton of Typhoon (big fan). I also learned that Ellis Ludwig-Leone (creator of San Fermin) got his start by composing various projects with Nico Muhly (Sufjan Stevens, Dirty Projectors). Makes perfect sense! From BottleRock to Outside Lands, I cannot WAIT to see this Brooklyn-based band again. I hope that John Brandon, who surprised SF with his first ever crowd surf while playing trumpet, will pull crazier stunts in August. NOT TO BE MISSED! There is a REASON I saw them TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW!! 😀
LONG OVERDUE (travel got in the way) playlist inspired by recent albums and recent live shows from two of my FAVORITE ARTIST, courtney barnett and Unknown Mortal Orchestra (UMO). It’s also heavily inspired by two incredible Melbourne-based artists, Harrison Storm and Kagu, that I was lucky enough to discover and to watch live in Melbourne. It’s also inspired by new albums from Alabama Shakes, Sufjan Stevens, and Twerps. Every song on UMO’s new album is ACE, but I particularly drawn to ‘The World is Crowded’ because of the catchy, soulful lyrics and siiiiiiiiiiick guitar. Can’t not help get FUNKED UP with UMO. Sooooo lucky to have catch them at tiny venue in Philly this week. ENJOY!
Here’s a Spotify playlist with most of the songs (some still missing):
EXTREMELY LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST inspired by new albums from Alabama Shakes, Geographer, courtney barnett, Father John Misty, and Laura Marling . All of these artists I’ve been lucky enough to see at least twice in my lifetime EXCEPT for Father John Misty, who I need to thank Marissa Andreozzi and Sylvia Garcia Borgo for getting me hooked on him (hot damn). Alabama Shakes and Geographer were two bands who I could not get ENOUGH OF during their 2012 album tours, and I was so stoked to see that they released new albums around the same time this year. Courtney was another artist I was lucky enough to see her during the early touring circuit of her debut double EP, and I’m EVEN LUCKIER to get to SEE HER PLAY in her HOMETOWN OF MELBOURNE in two weeks. Unfortunately I left London JUST AS Laura Marling was moving back from her 2 year hiatus in Southern California (LOVE HER). At least I got to hear the inside scoop of her recent London show from my buddy Steve Paul. This playlist was also inspired by an INCREDIBLE GROVE down MEMORY LANE with a Jurassic 5 show in Melbourne last month after not seeing them in 10 years (…man do they STILL GOT IT!). It also includes new songs from one of my favorite discoveries of 2015, Zach Winters (such lovely, calming music). Other new discoveries includes Mansionair, Passenger, Fleurie (reminds me a bit of Daughter), WAVE & ROME, Josh Garrels, and Twerps (who I’m seeing tonight at their album launch gig in Melbourne) . Last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, it includes one of my FAVORITE COVERS of Bon Iver’s ‘Heavenly Father‘ by one of my FAVORITE BANDS of 2014, Highasakite. If you have not yet listened to the NUMBINGLY BEAUTIFUL debut album of this Norwegian band, you MUST. They are ACE, and turns they were recently announced to go on tour with Of Monsters and Men . I love singing along to this ‘Heavenly Father’ cover, as Ingrid’s voice is one that strikes me with a distinctively comfortable resonance. I chose Geographer‘s ‘Too Much‘ as the playlist title track because I had very much missed Mike’s distinct voice and Nate’s haunting cello ever since I first saw them back in Feb 2012 with Cori Freeland and Kevin Ramos, and had waited nearly 3 years for their music revival. Thankfully I was able to get key updates and incredible pictures from Paige Parsons (of Paige K. Parsons Photography) who has photographed them for a review piece in The Bay Bridged. ‘Too Much‘ also reflects the fact that “days will take their toll if you let them,” and that wrapping up my last month in Melbourne (so much to do still!) really has been “just too much to bear.” I guess that I ‘Need’ to have ‘Patience‘ so that ‘I’m Ready‘ for this next life chapter. ❤
You can download all of the songs on the playlist from box.com account if you CLICK HERE:
Back in February, I noticed that my Facebook newsfeed (already dominated by an onslaught of music reminders) kept REMINDING ME about a NEW ARTIST that was rising on the scene: Courtney Barnett. This reminder was further back by the opinions of my credible music resources: Paige Parsons– who saw Courtney at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, and Chris Hayes- who saw Courtney at the Ace Hotel in London. Both spoke highly of her musical talent and her unique delivery as a singer/songwriter. One thing that I don’t recall them mentioning–something that is no obvious from her EP (‘A Sea of Split Peas’) either– is the RAW ROCKER EDGE that kinda just SMACKS YOU IN THE FACE during her live performances. For someone as chill and nonchalant as Courtney, her display of SHREDDING GUITAR comes as a surprise to most who come see her for the first time. Similar to St. Vincent in that regard, she makes stare in disbelief as she RAVAGES that electric guitar and sends it WAILING. I caught myself continually looking up at her all googly-eyed, thinking how freaking siiiiiiiiick it would be to reign a throne that once used to only be occupied by men. She sure does put the HER back in rockHER, and I’m all about pumping my fist in the air to show my support. HELL YES. xx
Having had the luxury of seeing her TWICE in 2 WEEKS —the Great Escape Music Festival in Brighton (May 9, 2014) and the Islington Assembly Hall in London (May 29, 2014)– I was AMAZED by the cool, collected confidence she carried throughout both performances. She didn’t appear to be nervous at all, and instead engaged in casual conversation with her fans (whom she refers to as “new friends”). In fact, at one point during the London gig, she asked “So what are you all doing tomorrow?” Having been nominated for NME’s Best New Band (2014) and having managed sold out tours in the UK, USA, Australia, I am impressed by her humbled appreciation for the audience support. She’s very apathetic about the whole fame thing and really makes an effort to greet all her “new friends” after the gig. Standing in the front for both gigs, I was lucky enough to flag her down (Sheree and I) after the show and strike up a chat. I am not ashamed to say that I am part of the Courtney CULT that is beginning to spread like wild fire.
Meeting Courtney after her Brighton Dome gig at the Great Escape music fest on May 9, 2014. Dying!! (From the left: Me, Courtney, Sheree)
Courtney’s Brighton Dome gig at this year’s Great Escape was hands down one of the STANDOUT PERFORMANCES of the festival. No question about it. Her lackadaisical but completely honest vocal style reminds me a bit of Kurt Vile, who I also really love. She delivers her dream-like narratives with such tangible imagery that you can’t help but jump in and go along for the ride. According to Rolling Stone magazine, “Barnett is a storytelling twenty-something singer/songwriter from Melbourne who writes matter-of-fact tales that unspool like barstool revelations and sound like some hybrid of Kimya Dawson and Kurt Cobain.” All of her tales carry their own element of sass and sarcasm, but it’s the rambling restlessness of History Eraser that we can’t seem to ERASE from our minds. With lines like “they made their paints by mixing acid wash and lemonade” and “We drove by tractor there, the yellow straw replaced our hair, we laced the dairy river with the cream of sweet vermouth,” you can only grin over the pure ingenuity of her impressive imagination. The best, though, is the chorus: “In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name…” (I just wish her bass player sang it louder during the gig!)
My favorite verses have got to be the last two:
“You said “we only live once” so we touched a little tongue, and instantly i wanted to… I lost my train of thought and jumped aboard the Epping as the doors were slowly closing on the world. I touched on and off and rubbed my arm up against yours and still the inspector inspected me. The lady in the roof was living proof that nothing really ever is exactly as it seems.
We caught the river boat downstream and ended up beside a team of angry footballers. I fed the ducks some krill then we were sucked against our will into the welcome doors of the casino. We drank green margaritas, danced with sweet senoritas, and we all went home as winners of a kind. You said “i guarantee we’ll have more fun, drink till the moon becomes the sun, and in the taxi home i’ll sing you a triffids song!” (Tamanna, this one’s for you!)
A girl next to me grabbed what she thought was the setlist, only to find a list of scattered words with no obvious meaning (except to Courtney of course). We later found out from Courtney that this was her lyrical “cheat sheet.” Something EVEN MORE valuable than a setlist. “Love you/hate you” –> FENCE –: “Like you/despise you”….What with the FENCE separating those sets of contradictions? And what with he “Turpentine” and “Cyanide” references? She’s such an interesting enigma! xxx
After Courtney’s impressive performance at The Great Escape, I was patting myself on the back for having purchased tickets early to see her at the Islington Assembly Hall (cause they sold out within weeks). The day the gig came around, however, I happened to be in a HORRID MOOD (might as well have had “f*ck you” written on my forehead), and was on the verge of a tears walking to the venue. Well, thank god I made it, cause Courtney proved to be the ultimate cure, and singing along (yes, I know most of the lyrics now) to her dark, witty tales had me smiling in no time. Who needs therapy when you’ve got musical madness as medicine?..
Courtney starts off the gig with Don’t Apply Compression Gently, David, Lance Jr., Canned Tomatoes, Scotty Says, taking a break in between to thank the audience and ask questions like: “Are you all having a good time?”, “Who has seen me before and has come back?” She also called out a person in the upper balcony who was leaving for the toilet during her set (haha). Although I didn’t get Don’t Apply Compression Gently on video, it happens to be another favorite. The brut honesty of the chorus (“I may not be 100% happy but at least I’m not with you”) and last verse is killer:
“I take pieces of myself from everyone around me I’m not individual enough for you I replicate the people I admire But at least I’m not bitter and sad.” (TRUTH).
Next up was what she introduced as an “angry song” about a “bad person,” soon correcting herself to say that person is probably “not so bad.” It’s called Out of the Woodwork, and it’s exactly what I needed to extinguish those bitter flames of frustration/anger/confusion I had burning inside. The line responsible for cracking a smile in my otherwise frowny face was: “I noticed you stopped talking to me, now you’re talking to me all the time” (we’ve all been there)
But then she stabs at him even harder, saying: “Do you know you’re no good at listening? But you’re really good at saying everything on your mind. It must be tiring trying so hard, to look like you’re not really trying at all. I guess if you’re afraid of aiming too high, then you’re not really gonna have too far to fall.” (SLAYED.)
Out of the Woodwork:
Then there was Are You Looking After Yourself?, which Courtney said was inspired her mom’s voice (e.g. nagging). This song makes so much more sense after you separate half the lyrics to include her mom’s part. (GOD, she is so freaking witty and clever. )
Mom: “Are you working hard my darling, we’re so worried, always thinking of you and we just want you to be so happy, keep on going…”
Courtney: “I don’t want no 9 to 5, telling me that I’m alive and ‘Man, you’re doing well!”
Mom: “Have you got some money saved up for those rainy days? You should start some sort of trust fund just in case you fail” (sound very familiar…)
Courtney: “My friends play in bands, they are better than everything on radio…”
Are You Looking After Yourself:
(I think it’s safe to say that she IS indeed LOOKING AFTER HERSELF. She’s KILLIN IT right now!)
Following that one was a new song which they still haven’t a name for (hence it listed as “Blah” on the setlist). This one was probably the most volatile of all, and the lyrics cut like a knife. The harsh words kinda remind me a bit of Alanis Morrisette.
“Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you.
Tell me I’m accessible and I’ll only exploit you.”
Next up was Avant Gardener, HANDS DOWN my favorite from Courtney’s kickass collection. I FREAKIN’ LOVE THIS TRACK and the entire witty rendition of a relatively serious event: the time she suffered from anaphylactic shock when trying to clear her front yard on a hot morning. “The one thing that captivates me in a song is the honesty of a songwriter. It could be about walking to the shop, but if it’s said with that person’s perspective then it can make it interesting,” says Courtney. This is ethos that dominates her EP, and this song in particular. My favorite verses (although they’re hard to choose!):
“Life’s getting hard in here So i do some gardening Anything to take my mind away from where it’s sposed to be. … I feel pro-active I pull out weeds All of a sudden I’m having trouble breathing in… I take a hit from An asthma puffer I do it wrong I was never good at smoking bongs. I’m not that good at breathing in.” (Genius ending.)
Setting up a DOUBLY WHAMMY and hitting us with her two best in a row, she follows with the crowd pleaser, History Eraser.
Then, we all didn’t think there was going to be an encore, as Courtney affirmed that History Eraser would be their official “last song.” SO, we were all super excited (jumping up and down inside) when she came out to play one more song. It was an ode to Preston, the area in Melbourne where she was possibly going to live until she realized how “depressing” it is (hence Depreston as the title of the song). She quickly mentions that it’s really “not that bad, though..” and she doesn’t want to give Preston a bad rap. The lyrics which really stood out to me were:
“If you had to spare half a million, You could knock it down and start rebuildin’..” (chills)
So amazed and utterly IN AWE of Courtney after this performance, I couldn’t help but wait in line to chat with her real quick and tell her how much enjoyed the show for a second time (this time knowing MOST of the lyrics.) I also asked her why both gigs they didn’t play Anonymous Club, which happens to be one of my favorites. Lyrics like: “Turn your phone off friend, you’re amongst friends and we don’t need no interruptions…Leave your shoes at the door, along with your troubles.” YES. Get me there. She responded by saying that was a difficult song to play live and they haven’t quite figured it out yet. Mainly I think it’s because they need to get another guitarist (or maybe the drummer?) to make some of those background effects while she keep on rhythm. Hopefully that’s something they’ll work on for future cause I LOVE IT…love her. Def seeing her again and again. ❤
I should have asked her what the PEDIGOGEE (and foot) were referring to! Haha