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

78132486_2917231201726846_8587570745079496704_n.jpg

 

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! ❤

Social Media pages:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/
Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @eandreoz
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1217781739

 

 

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.

Social Media pages:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/
Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @eandreoz
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1217781739

 

 

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. ❤

 

Social Media pages:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/
Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @eandreoz
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1217781739

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):

 

Social Media pages:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/
Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @eandreoz
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1217781739

 

 

 

 

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

Written by Erica Andreozzi

23376497_10100607618659169_5968327554680746999_n

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):

 

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

25324031_10100624266377009_703587548_n

“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. ❤

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/
Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @eandreoz
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1217781739

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!

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!

 

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.

 

 

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/
Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @eandreoz
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1217781739

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

28056568_10100653836009229_6211224657347084304_n

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!

 

YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beatsthatsetmypulse/

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse

Twitter: @eandreoz

Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1217781739

Mani Orrason: “But freedom haunts me like it should haunt no one… And when I run through the trees I will run for everyone” – Iceland Airwaves (Nov 3, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Meet Mani Orrason, a young Icelandic multi-instrumentalist whose first ever single, ‘Fed My Days‘ (see video below) made it to #1 on the Icelandic charts when he was only 16 years old. Following up on that success, Mani soon released a debut EP, Wake Me Up, whose title track is super catchy and will certainly wake you/me up.  Since then, Mani has released a full album (Repeating Patterns, 2015) of folk/pop songs and plans to release another in 2017.  He must of fallen in love with his Spain (or someone from there, haha) during his all years of touring Europe, because now this Icelandic expat lives in Alicante.  Maybe this second album will have even more spice. Maybe it will feed all of our days, AND all of our nights… 😉

 

GDJYB: “Tick tick tock tock the minute goes, the history flows, nothing’s gonna change the lies u told, the scam we know” – Iceland Airwaves (Nov 3, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25382990_10100624250259309_414126004_o

GDJYB (Gai Dan Jane Yuk Bang) were one of the top new discoveries for me at Iceland Airwaves this year. Calling themselves a “Math-folk girl band from Hong Kong and plays song in Honglish,” this badass quintet (Soni Cheng – guitarist, Heihei Ng – Drummer, Soft Liu – Vocalist, Wing Chan – Bassist).  My eyes were bugging out the entire set and bugged out EVEN MORE when I learned that they will be playing at San Francisco’s Noise Pop festival at the end of February! Can’t wait to see them again! Be sure to check out GDJYB’s debut EP (what I bought right after the set) and their first full album (11 songs) ‘23:59 Before Tomorrow,’ released in early 2017 in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. I true treat! 🙂

“If there’s a band capable of striking a successful balance between tranquility and tumult, calm and tension, it’s GDJYB, Hong Kong’s best-kept secret. Featured on the art-pop quartet’s debut album, 23:59 Before Tomorrow, the intriguingly titled “That Day I Went to His Funeral” presents a clean, smooth, and resolutely warm façade, one capable of disarming the most hardened set of ears. Beneath its alluring surface, however, the band can be heard churning out energetically swirling tangles of guitar, bass, drums, and even multi-part harmonies that in their delicate complexity fall somewhere between the Marine Girls’ jazzy post-punk and Warpaint’s dreamy tribal pop.”KEXP

Some of my favorite tracks can be found on my recent playlist: Make It Out Alive

Broken Social Scene: “I get world sick every time I take a stand… Well, I get world sick, my love is for my man” – Fox Theater in Oakland (Oct 26, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

320276_638382249729_1231621591_n(1)

Broken Social Scene at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco (Oct 2, 2011)

 

It had been a solid six years since I last saw Broken Social Scene at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco back in Oct 2011 (pictured above), and I could not have been more ecstatic to see them at the Fox Theater in honor of their recent album, ‘Hug of Thunder’ (released on July 7, 2017). ‘Hug of Thunder‘ is certainly one to HUG LIKE HELL, for it happens to be Broken Social Scene’s newest album since ‘Forgiveness Rock Record‘ (released in May 2010), and represents their revival from a 7 year hiatus. And man.. WHAT A REVIVAL is has BEEN. This 12-piece Canadian indie rock played a stellar 2-hour performance spanning their entire collection (set-list above), including a large number of songs from the new album: Halfway Home, Protest Song (personal favorite), Stay Happy, and Skyline. I nearly lost it when they played ‘World Sick,’ one of my absolute FAVORITE TRACKS (love the intro guitar ditty!): “I get world sick every time I take a stand… Well, I get world sick, my love is for my man.” I feel this song is especially relevant to the political turmoil in the Unites States and all of the unfortunate tragedies happening in the world today, and it as no surprise that Brendan Canning (guitar, vocals) also vocalized this relevance. It kind of reminds me of despair that is eminent in their new track, ‘Mouth Guards Of The Apocalypse‘: “I don’t wanna be scared, Or addicted to the dream… This fight is a ghost, Whose suicide was unseen.” Just got the chills.
After treating us to a special rendition of ‘Anthem for a Seventeen-year Old Girl‘ (video below) with the lovely ladies of Belle Game (their opener), Broken Social Scene played BOTH ‘Cause = Time‘ AND ‘Lover’s Spit.’ After polling the audience and seeing a unanimous request for both, Brendan made sure no one would be let down. He then got CARRIED AWAY (literally) after climbing into the crowd for ‘Lover Spit‘ and sing most of the song while surfing in a sea of fans.
AND, as if the music wasn’t cathartic enough, Brendan later initiated a group therapy session with the following request:

“You gotta take everything you got hear tonight. You gotta take all of the anxiety, all of the depression, all of the regret, all of the expectations that didn’t happen. You gotta take all of the people who aren’t here, all the people you wish were here, you gotta take all the joy, all the love, everything that you feel, and we’re gonna scream, and we’re gonna let it all go together. We’re gonna do some therapy – we’re gonna do it, together. We’re gonna let it out, and even if it’s just this moment and the momentary junkie society that we live in. This moment can be ours, and no one can take this away from us.”  LOVE THIS

He then asked us to “Take this night and put it in your back pocket for (days that don’t work for you)” right before TAKING US HOME with the EPIC ENCORE of ‘It’s All Gonna Break.’ Such an INCREDIBLE NIGHT OF MUSIC. I sure hope we don’t need to wait another 7 years for Broken Social Scene to come back ONTO THE SCENE.  😛  ❤

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Oct 2, 2011):

 

 

City of the Sun: “If you came here for a chill acoustic show, this ain’t it” – The Cornerstone in Berkeley (Nov 7, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26828077_10100636480115579_1835085773_o

SO STOKED to have met the TREMENDOUSLY TALENTED TRIO (John Pita, Avi Snow, Zach Para) that is City of the Sun after their MIND-NUMBING SHOW at the Cornerstone Brewery in Berkeley.  I may have been tired and jet-lagged from Iceland Airwaves music festival (for which I only just returned the day before), but that surely did NOT keep me from SEEING THE SUN, City of the Sun. This EXPLOSIVE, GENRE-BENDING band blends post-rock and flamenco style guitar with unique percussion (learned in Peru) to create soundscapes that SWEEP YOU TO THE SKY. I first discovered City of the Sun at BottleRock Napa back in May and remember my knees getting weak (yes, THAT GOOD) as I ran to the stage half-way into their first SONG. They reminded me a bit of both Explosions in the Sky and Rodrigo y Gabriela, two of my ALL TIME FAVORITE bands (but with very different styles). They also had a bit of a Vancouver Sleep Clinic vibe, which (oddly enough), they told me they met a few months back at a music festival in Vegas and considered Tim Bettinsons‘ vocals a great fit for their music.  🙂

Having honed their craft as buskers in NYC, their stage presence was pretty phenomenal for a band new to the festival circuit, and you could tell they were thirsty for a rowdy crowd. It’s pretty cool that they wrote a song (‘You and I… And New York‘) about the city that provided much of their influence and inspiration, as well as a platform to play to a world full of strangers. NYC pedestrians are def a tough crowd!

I smiled SO FREAKING WIDE when John Pita (lead guitar) stuck his head over the crowd and shouted “LET ME SEE ALL YOUR FUCKING EYES!” Haha. YAAAAAS. You better believe I took that command to heart and waved my big-eyed puppet face his way the entire set. Whelp, he must have liked the puppet participation, cause during the encore (‘Everything‘), he launched toward me at 2 min in and yelled “HEY!” as if to raise the roof of the joint! That song is EVERYTHING I could ever want and need! So FREAKING SICK; a true TIMELESS, UNIVERSAL TRACK that will have EVERYONE and EVERYTHING moving their bodies in ways they never knew how! It’s only a matter of time before these guys shine their vibrant tunes ‘To the Sun and All the Cites In Between.’ (name of their debut album).

Another standout track (but let’s get real they are all amazing) is ‘Explosions.’ (video below) If this song does not make you FEEL EXPLOSIONS all over, I am concerned for you. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful instrumental tracks I’ve heard in a long, long time. ‘Brothers‘ (video below) is another track that has my heart, for when is hits, I simply “feel no pain” (and I’m pretty sure Bob Marley would agree). It’s probably not a coincidence then that they kick off their album with this one. The build-up is so damn gorgeous. What a slayer.

Lucky for us they happened to perform two amazing covers: (1) Santana‘s ‘Jingo‘ and (2) The xx‘s ‘Intro.’ WHAT A TREAT to hear City of the Sun brand this XX masterpiece with heir own unique flamenco guitar/post-rock signature. SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD.

They also treated us to a new song called ‘Firefly‘ (which def flew right into my heart and lit it up) as well as an unreleased song with no title (video below).

I will never forget John Pita’s last words to the crowd: “If you can here for a chill acoustic show, this ain’t it.”  DAMN STRAIGHT. You came for something that words simply cannot describe. You just gotta show up and see for yourself. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Videos from their set at BottleRock Napa:

 

 

 

 

Luke Sital-Singh: “I’ve got a 21st century heartbeat. It’s a dying voice, it still haunts me. 21st century heartbeat, holding on” – The Fillmore (12-3-17)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

26613527_10100634502408919_1922819250_o

So lucky to have caught Luke Sital-Singh after his beautiful, non-“depressing” set opening for Angus and Julia Stone at The Fillmore last night. I remember first discovering him at Communion Music events back in 2013. Was a pleasure I was to hear his lovely tracks (especially ‘21st century heartbeat‘!) and to chat with him about touring with one of my other favorite London artists, The Staves. So glad that learn about his music journey since then and recent tour of the states. What a nice guy!

“I’ve got a 21st century heartbeat It’s a dying voice, it still haunts me 21st century heartbeat holding on”

Luke said this song as being inspired but all of the “f*cked up things happening in the world.” Such a beaut. Probably my favorite of his set. ❤

 

Gracie and Rachel: “I am getting so very comfortable, and I don’t want to get that way, no, I don’t want to get that way… Oh no… Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable, uncomfortable” – Cafe Du Nord (Sept 15, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I have seen a least a thousand shows and NEVER BEFORE have seen this unique, over-the-shoulder piano duet that hugs your heart just as much as it drops your jaw. Cheers to this talented orchestral pop piano-violin duo (Gracie and Rachel) who were born and bred in Berkeley but have since moved to Brooklyn to spread love (it’s the Brooklyn way) with their beautiful baroque-pop music. Very impressed by their headliner show with Henry Jamison at Cafe Du Nord. The song ‘(un)comfortable‘ was one of the my favorites, and the lyrics certainly resonated with me.

*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

Nick Mulvey: “Cause you got lost in comparison Always pretending you knew When everything you were looking for Was already looking at you… This moment is a mountain to move…Wake up now” – Swedish American Hall (Nov 17, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I couldn’t believe when Nick Mulvey said “I’ve seen you before!” after his Swedish American Hall show on Nov 17. He musta remembered the puppet face! I was hooked ever since that first night at Barfly and just kept showing up everywhere he played, from Green Man Festival to Shepards Bush empire (opening for Laura Marling) to O2 Brixton Academy (opening for London Grammar) to XOYO (where he played with the talented Fiona Bevan). His song ‘Fever to the Form‘ was legitimately my LIFE ANTHEM for most of 2013-2014, and that first verse “So whether music or madness, We live by one of the two… So Go on an fill your heart with gladness, not a moment too soon” will forever be my GUIDING LIGHT. It is a TIMELESS TRACK that I know will still bring me the same peace of mind and clarity (“cause the very thing you’re afraid, afraid of, It keeps you clean but unclear”) 20 years from now as it did back in 2013. ‘Fever to the Form’ was released alongside other tops tracks (First Mind, I Don’t Want to Go Home, Meet Me There, Juramidam, Cucurucu) on his debut album, First Mind, which was nominated for a Mercury Prize (well deserved!) in 2014. Nick has become a dad since the release of that album, and he considers this step to have had a positive influence on his music writing: “Putting music as a secondary priority to that (the challenge of making new music) was a really healthy thing for me.” Well, we are glad to reap the benefits of that positive influence, for his newest (sophomore) album, Wake Up Now, is freaking AWESOME. Standout tracks for me are: Mountain to Move, Remembering, In Your Hands, Transform Your Game, and Unconditional. In fact, Nick has a really cool story to go along with ‘Mountain to Move’ and I hope he continues to share it during his live performances. Cheers to the super talented British musician who studied music in Cuba and who continues to weave styles from all over the world into his musical quilt. ❤

 

More Nick Mulvey videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz/search?query=nick+mulvey

*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

 

Minus the Bear: “Hey, let’s cross the sea, and get some culture… Red wine with every meal, and absinthe after dinner” – The Fox Theater in Oakland (Oct 22, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Such a treat to have Minus the Bear and SilverSun Pickups share the same stage last Saturday at the Fox Theater Oakland. Two INCREDIBLE BANDS with two very different sound/style, and I’m glad to have been following them both since 2009. I love that Minus the bear played all of my favorites (especially the first!): Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse, My Time, Into the Mirror, and Last Kiss. Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES! It’s a perfect anthem for the wondrous wanderlust, and it always makes my heart flutter as it jogs my memories of past adventures.  Dave Knudson (lead guitar) was sitting in a chair for most of the set because he recently broke his leg, and Alex Rose (keys, backing vocals) laughed and said they — Jake Snider (vocals, guitar), Cory Murchy (bass guitar), and Joshua Sparks (drums) —  prefer it this way because it it reminds them of a casual jam session in someone’s living room. A short but tasty set by these highly seasoned musicians!

*Check out full videos from the night on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile: “You can’t save the unsavably untogether” – Fox Theater in Oakland (Oct 18, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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 ❤

Check out full  videos from the show below:

*Check out more videos on my YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/eandreoz

Instagram: beatsthatsetmypulse
Twitter: @beatsthatsetmy

The Twilight Sad (REVIEW): “We Danced to Save Them All…” – Live at the Lexington in London (July 26, 2014)

The Twilight Sad– The Lexington, London

(July 26, 2014)

Some meat is harder to chew, but when you do, it’s a MUCH MORE satisfying MEAL. That’s how I feel about the music of The Twilight Sad, as well as of some of my other favorite bands: tUnE-yArDsThe Dirty ProjectorsManchester Orchestra, etc. Even the size of The Twilight Sad fan-base  (# of facebook “likes”) is pretty low considering their talent/potential, the dedication and loyalty of this fab base is unparalleled in comparison to that of most other bands (another example of this is Augustines). Having seen The Twilight Sad three times in the past three months (1 twilight per month, yes please!), I’ve already become friends with a few other fans (the “regulars”) that I’ve recognized at these same gigs. One of these fans in particular had actually traveled up to Scotland a few times just to see them when they weren’t gigging as frequently in London (which fortunately, they are now). She was even recognized by James’ dad last night at their SOLD OUT Lexington gig. Diehard fans = family, but it’s only a matter of time before The Twilight Sad builds up their numbers (hopefully with the release of their next album). Every one needs to experience the satisfaction of that meat which initially might be harder to chew. x

I first heard of The Twilight Sad from an Irish buddy back in 2010 who had seen them at The Cluny in Newcastle and was BLOWN AWAY. They were on my radar ever since, and it just so happened that they were playing at my favorite music venue (The Independent) in San Francisco the spring (March 2012) before I was set to graduate. That gig was a COMPLETE EYE-OPENER, and I was just as blown way by The Twilight Sad then, as my buddy was a few years back. Right before SLAYING US with his performance of Cold Days from the Birdhouse, James toasted crowd and mentioned that it was a particularly special night because his DAD was in town, COMING ALL THE WAY FROM SCOTLAND for the show. He was overflowing with gratitude, claiming that the last time the band played the Independent back in 2007, only one person showed up. I found out later that it was more like 15 people, but thing definitely have changed…

I was almost moved to tears during the intro of Cold Days from the Birdhouse, with James’ powerful pipes (and full Scottish brogue) pulsing over the euphoric ringing of Andy’s guitar. My INSIDES were basically doing JUMPING JACKS the entire time…Jaw dropped, eyes stunned, heart pounding. Mad “cheers” to the gut-wrenching punch of The Twilight Sad (see video below).

“And so you make it your own
But this is where your arm can’t go (James KILLS IT here)
You make it your own
But this is where your arm can’t go

And your red sky at night won’t –follow me
It won’t follow me now.
I won’t wear your shoes,
I won’t clip your wings.”

Aside from Reflection of a TelevisionI Became a Prostitute, and That Summer, I had Become the Invisible Boy, and Alphabet, the other song that killed it for me was And She Will Daken the Memory.  James has a eeire way of gettin gunder your skin with his emotionally-charged lyrics that seem to emerge from a dark, curious place: “And head up dear, you’re shallow and blind…And head up dear, the rabbit might die…Because I’m putting up with your constant whine…And that won’t last too long.” A fantastic frontman indeed, and the passion/power behind his pipes are something I would have expected from the legendary  James Morrison back in the day. When vocals are your main contribution to a band, you have to OWN THEM in every way, shape, and form to make them your own, unique instrument. You are responsible for carrying the melodies and entertaining the masses, and James clearly DOES THIS when he twirls around stage with his hands clenched and his body thrown into fits, letting the music take FULL CONTROL. At one point, I clearly remember him kneeling on stage with his head thrown back and eyes rolled back, ROARING into the mic like a madman. Yep, that’s the kinda passion that sticks. x

Right after the gig, I started chatting with the woman who was standing next to me the entire time, and it turns out she’s pretty famous music photographer (lots of her stuff is in Rolling Stone magazine and in art galleries) by the name of Paige Parsons. She mentioned to me that had taken portraits of James the year before (2011) when they were on tour with Frightened Rabbit. That night, James told Paige that one of her portraits of him was his Dad’s favorite, and that it is hanging up on the mantle inside their house. A mother herself, Paige was SO MOVED by this that she asked to get a photo with James’ Dad, and I couldn’t help but grin at the magical moment unfolding before my eyes. I went on to telling James how much I enjoyed the gig, and later started suggesting places (Redwood forests!) for them to see while on tour in Northern California. I also asked to grab a pic (yes, it’s cheesy but I don’t care) with James, as well as with Martin (“Doc”) Doherty who was handling keyboards/percussion. Crazy thing is, I remember Martin telling me that night about his itch to pursue his own solo project, one with a more electronic focus. WELL, turns out this ITCH later ESCALATED into something HUGE: formation of the Scottish electro/pop band, CHVRCHES, who BLEW UP in 2013, topping all radio charts and headlining major festivals. There’s a prime example of why you should never stop following your heart, even when your mind tells you otherwise. Related to this, Sarah Barthel (of Phantogram) claims that the secret to making it in the 21st century music industry is to “Just work your ass off and believe in your music.”  (Love that)  ❤

Having moved from California to England in Nov 2012, I’ve been lucky enough to see The Twilight Sad three times in London since that gig at the Independent. One of those three was a rare and unique acoustic performance by James and Andy as part of a Bandstand Busking event (all videos are posted below). They opened the set with Cold Days From the Birdhouse, the gem that SLAYED US the first time we heard Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters. God damn. Then, they surprised us with a new song, Last January, that really struck a deep chord with me and is likely to be one of my favorites on the new album: “It’s your eyes, touching my eyes…” (SO GOOD) The next song, I Became  Prostitute, is one of my favorites, and although it’s got a heavy title, James assured us that the the title really has no relevance to the song. Haha. And that’s why we love them even more… (The unexpected airplane flying over the gazebo at 2 min in made for a pretty funny moment)

I Became  Prostitute followed with a hilarious intro to the second new song, one that James couldn’t quite remember the name of at first. He jokes about how he thought it was his Dad sitting there, saying: “Open your eyes, James! You can’t see anything!” (“shut the f*ck up, Dad!”)  His dad surely DOES know him well, because James DOESN’T EVER open his eyes. Haha. He’s just concentrating too hard! James soon remembers the name of the song as It Never Was the Same, and later tells me that they only just named the songs a week ago. Plus they all have different names for them, and the names one their set-lists don’t ever match the actual names on the album (see picture below). It Never Was the Same was such a STUNNING TRACK, and I very much Looking forward to hearing it again with a full band:  “We danced to save them all…” (YES)

After being spoiled by the new tracks, James and Andy finished off the set with two of our favorites from Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen WintersAnd She Would Darken the Memory and That Summer, at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy. It was really cool to hear the stripped down, raw version of the louder, bolder originals. These songs definitely hit a soft spot for many Twilight Sad fans, and I noticed a few tears coming from the person (a full grown man) standing next to me. Oh, those musical triggers! It’s crazy how they sneak up on us and re-awake different moments of our lives. I guess that’s the beauty in it all: “I’m 14, and you know, That I’ve learned the easy way…The stupid decisions…And with a broken heart…The kids are on fire in the bedroom.”

About a month after this beautiful acoustic performance through Bandstand Busking was The Twilight Sad’s sold out Lexington gig, and we were all a bit SAD to hear that they could only play ONE of their new songs because some JERK stole their equipment last week. Who does that?! James dedicated I Became a Prostitute to that BAD BAD person, and all of their channeled RAGE made for one hell of a performance. Mark was a beast on drums (as always), and Andy was shoegazing with all sorts of new tricks tonight. The noise generated from Andy’s guitar is MASSIVE, so massive that his guitar vibrations alone were causing the empty beer glasses in front of me to glide across the stage. James was his usual ‘two-headed boy’– nice and humble in between songs, but a stormy savage on stage. He even yanked at the microphone so hard during Cold Days from the Birdhouse intro that he temporarily broke it..SILENCE…right at the buildup to “And your red sky at night won’t follow me.” He then laughs, “Well that kinda ruined the moment.” The whole set was epic (I don’t think I EVER stopped swaying), including the full-band version of their new gem, Last January“It’s your eyes….touching my eyes.” I can’t wait for more TWILIGHT ON TUESDAY when they play a benefit gig with Mogwai! I also can’t wait for the NEW ALBUM, which James confirmed would be released in the Autumn. From the songs I’ve heard so far, this album might be their BEST (James thinks so too). It might just be the right place/right time for others (non-diehards) to catch on. I’ll make sure my buddies in California see them when they fly through in Nov with the Jetpacks (We Were Promised Jetpacks). 🙂

PICTURES:

IMG_0409

IMG_0385IMG_0387IMG_0388IMG_0390IMG_0392IMG_0394IMG_0396IMG_0399

IMG_0383IMG_0402IMG_0403IMG_0405IMG_0406IMG_0421IMG_0426IMG_0430IMG_0431IMG_0434IMG_0435IMG_0437IMG_0438IMG_0439IMG_0442IMG_0444IMG_0445

***

The Twilight Sad– bandstand Busking, London

(June 21, 2014)

VIDEOS:

Cold Days from the Birdhouse:

Last January:

I Became a Prostitute:

It Never Was the Same:

And She Would Darken the Memory:

That Summer, At Home I had Become the Invisible Boy:

PICTURES:

IMG_9605

***

The Twilight Sad– Hoxton Square Bar & Grill, London

(April 30, 2014)

PICTURES:

IMG_7936IMG_7941IMG_7945IMG_7948IMG_7954IMG_7957-001IMG_7958IMG_7959

The Twilight Sad– The Independent

(March 3, 2012)

VIDEOS:

Cold Days From the Birdhouse:

And She Would Darken the Memory:

PICTURES:

IMG_0194IMG_0195IMG_0198IMG_0200IMG_3423IMG_3425IMG_3428IMG_3432IMG_3433TS2TS3TS4TS5TS6TS8TS10TS11TS14TS15TS17TS18TS19TS21TS22TS23TW7TW13Twilightsad1

 IMG_0209 IMG_0210

Sharon Van Etten- “We’ve been through better days, And you’ve tasted all my pain…Break my legs so I can’t walk to you…”

Sharon Van Etten– KOKO, London (June 5, 2014)

A review by Erica Andreozzi

photo 3 photo 4 photo 1

meandsharon1

Getting to MEET SHARON the first time I ever saw her. It was at a tiny venue (Rickshaw Stop) in San Francisco, and was the night I passed my PhD defense. There’s no one else I’d rather spend me first night as a “Dr.” with! LOVE HER.

I remember as if it were yesterday. August 10, 2012. Not just the day I passed my thesis defense, but the day I got to see AND MEET one of my favorite female artists OF ALL TIME: Sharon Van Etten. Having started listening to her a year prior through an Irish buddy I met in Barcelona, I was immediately HOOKED by Epic and even later by the fierce grasp of their newer arrival, Tramp. A devout fan of the National since 2010, I was enamored by the thought of Aaron Dressner and Sharon sitting down together, mixing up some musical madness together in some Brooklyn studio. She speaks very highly of Aaron, and says it was he that taught her how to “communicate in the studio” and be “open to collaboration” (e.g. working with Beirut‘s Zach Condon and Wye Oak‘s Jenn Wassner) without “shying away from production.” “I feel like Aaron gave me a lot of tools and confidence to communicate with my band and it made me want to try something different sonically. I wanted to give the songs more space and not bury them in instrumentation. I really wanted to focus on the band and the space and the melodies.” You could definitely sense the extra dimension in Tramp, and even more so in her newest album, ‘Are We There‘ (released June 2014). For this album, Sharon rounded up a two more band members, Darren Jessee (of Ben Folds Five and Hotel Lights) and Brad Cook (from Megafaun), both joining alumni Heather Woods Broderick and Doug Keith. I remember Doug very well because I was standing RIGHT IN FRONT of him (arms reach away) at that Rickshaw Stop gig and was serenaded by his EPIC bowing of the guitar intro to ‘I’m Wrong’ (one of my favorites from their collection). CHILLS up and down my spine every time I hear that song, and the “tell my I’m worth all the miles you put on your car…” line always draws a tear. ‘I’m Wrong‘ and ‘Joke or a Lie,’ back-to-back ON REPEAT was instant therapy for me during the weeks leading up to my PhD defense, and am not sure I would have made it (in one piece) without these songs. That strong dependency on Sharon’s music was something I could not be more eager to share with her that night (after I passed)…AND I DID (hence the picture above). Normally I would have been nervous to approach her, but her down-to-earth spirit and bubbly, comedic banter throughout the set just instantly diffused those nerves and suddenly I felt like she was a good friend who I had known for years. I was shocked to find that someone who sings such devastating, heart-breaking songs could be so happy-go-lucky and utterly HILARIOUS…(so hilarious that I actually asked her if she was “a comedian before this,” to which she replied, ” I liked doing gags, like saran wrap on the toilet seat.”)…She also mentioned eating waaaaay too much chocolate cake that day, and when I mentioned that to her 6 months later at their December gig in London (The Forum), SHE REMEMBERED ME…literally pointed to me in a crowd of 1500 people and was like “HEY YOU!”…(I was DYING). It just goes to show you that no matter how big or famous some artists get, they will still remain the GENUINELY AWESOME PERSON that got them there in the first place. “I don’t want to be big,” Sharon said in a recent interview with Gigwise. “I don’t want to be bigger. I think that with the way I write and perform, I like where I am. I’m kind of scared to get any bigger because I just don’t think that’s the reason I do this. I soon as I don’t know who I’m connecting with or why then I want to stop and do something different. I’m not even like a festival kind of band – who wants to stop partying to come and listen to me? It doesn’t make sense to me, but I feel lucky to be here. I don’t have any ‘moves’.” She wants to still feel the impact (on a personal level) with her fans, and I very much admire her for that. Sharon is developing a fan base for all the right reasons, and we can only continue to LOVE MORE (pun intended) the many sides of this dynamic, lovable lady.  ❤ And this lovable lady is proving that her music can only get better with time, and her evolution as an artist is something we can only look forward to. Having added 2 new members to her touring WOLF PACK, some might be concerned that they additional instruments would drown out her sound on the new album, ‘Are We There,’  but they don’t. When asked about maintaining the intimacy and purity of her music while involving more people, Sharon replies: “The songs still originate from my bedroom, for the most part, and start from a really intimate place. I feel as long as the melody is supported and not covered you can hear that intimacy.” When discussing the inspiration for ‘Are We There,’ she says, “The whole album was written over the past two years while on the road, touring Tramp. And the songs are all about the struggle of trying to have a home life, relationship – and also trying to work and the frustration that comes with trying to balance it all when it is virtually impossible…In the end, I had to choose my work over having a relationship because the person I was with couldn’t handle it. It was someone that I loved very deeply, but it just plays on people’s insecurities when you’re in a place that they’re not. And that’s kinda what that song is about, what the whole record’s about.” I’m not a famous musician or anything (obviously), but I can definitely emphasize with that nomadic type lifestyle, and I can see how difficult it would be to maintain a healthy relationship (esp. with someone outside the business who might not understand). But what I (and most others) love about Sharon is how fearless she is in facing her subconscious and unleashing many of the deep-seated  affliction that most people would rather suppress. “I have a hard time not wearing my heart on my sleeve and answering people honestly. You know, my friends warn me that I should be more guarded ‘cause sometimes I am too honest and open, but it’s also just who I am. I don’t like to hold back. Especially with who I am and what I do, it’s all me, everything’s my name, it’s what I do, it’s how I feel, it’s what I think. Over the last two years, I’m beginning to think that what I do is kind of self-centered, you know? And I’ve been contemplating doing something else after a couple of years, ‘cause it’s all me. It’s almost like, why do people care about me?…I love who I work with, and I’m lucky, and I know that people would kill to be in the position that I’m in, but it’s fucking with my head a little bit. It’s all about me and my life and my hardships or whatever you want to call it, and I don’t know who I’m helping, I don’t know what I’m doing…I feel pretty selfish to be doing what I’m doing and not knowing who it’s affecting or who it’s helping.” But I wish I could tell her (shout it out) that she is HELPING ME!!  Without Sharon’s recent album  release and gig at KOKO, I am not sure I could have made it through last week without having complete meltdown. The one song that became my instant ailment (still is) was ‘Afraid of Nothing.’ It’s actually the title track to my recent playlist: https://beatsthatsetmypulse.wordpress.com/afraid-of-nothing/ The minute I hear those intro piano chords to this song, my fear/troubles/frustrations instantly dissipate off my chest, and suddenly I feel a thousand times lighter. This was the first song of Sharon’s set at KOKO, and I couldn’t help but choke up (at the first song, lame I know). I would have loved getting this on video, but the photographers were obstructing my view. These lyrics = therapy: “I can’t wait…Til we’re afraid…Of nothing. I can’t wait…Til we hide….From nothing…Nothing.” Next up in the set was ‘Taking Chances,’ one of my other favorites from the new album. The beat is so hypnotic and catchy, and the lyrics just flow behind like a perfect cascade: “When you love all of you, they know all of you..Be alone and take, and you break for your sake…Even I’ve taken my chances….Even I’ve taken my chances on you.” Then it was ‘Tarifa‘, a song that didn’t’ capture my initial interest the first time through, but now that I listen more and more I’ really drawn to it: “Tell me when…Tell me when is this over?…Chewed you out…Chew me out when I’m stupid.” After the first 3 songs (photographers booted, thank you), Sharon apologizes to the the audience, saying that she is a bit sick and will have to carry her tissues on stage..(she later jokes about about making a business with personalized tissues). Then she cracks a few jokes with her keyboardist/back up singer, Heather, who claimed at the red tambourine wasn’t “her color.” She soon interrupts the set with an oldie (but goodie), ‘Don’t Do It,’ and the crowd goes wild for the tune that we all know and love: “Look me in the eyes, say you can’t do it, but you will if you want to…I wish I could make you right.”  (fierce ending…wish I could give her a hug!) Next was another oldie, a song (‘Give Out‘) she introduces as the reason why she “moved to the city“: “What’s with the eyes…In the back of the room?…The only ones shining…The only ones I’d met in years…“I’m biting my lip…As confidence is speaking to me.”  (this continues to be one of my favorites of her older stuff) Just before she hits us with a new one, she giggles as she and Doug discuss how much they are enjoying the show during their “meeting minutes.” (haha)  Then someone in the crowd yells, “We love you Sharon!,” to which she replies (looking out with her hand over her forehead, ” DAD? Is that you?” Everyone laughs as she then explains how it’s not uncommon for her parents to randomly show up and surprise her at gigs in different cities, as they have in the past for both Dublin and Paris. (But then she says they would not be here because they are at home getting ready for her sister’s wedding). Next up was another new one, ‘Nothing will change,’ and I for sure felt the gravity in these lyrics; “It had been a while and I thought that you’d forgot about me I never could have forgotten you. (def have been there…) The next song (‘Break Me‘) seems to be a continueation of ‘Give out’, and I can’t help but draw a parallel between the two. She says, “This is a song about therapy, cause I need it.” (LOVE THE OMNICHORD IN THIS ONE) “He can make me..Move into a city on my knees…He can take in everything…Hoping he let’s me in..I, I let you in.” She then played one more old one (‘Serpents‘) before finishing off her collection of new gems, including ‘You Know Me Well‘: “Everyone is crazy with their own life…Lies in existential you ever want to find your way out…Turn into yourself again and reach on out….To become your true self…You know me well….You show me hell when I’m looking…And here you are…Looking.” I’m just not that broken any more,” Sharon says in a recent interview. “I feel like I’ve been hurt and I’m still hurt, but for different reasons. I know who I am more, I know what I want, I don’t take as much shit, I know what I don’t want, I know what I will not tolerate, I know when I’m making someone else happy and vice versa…I still get hurt and get sad, I’m still a romantic at heart, but I think that one thing about growing up is that you know what you want more.”  (YES.) Following this is the song, “Your Love is Killing Me,” which has drawn the attention of many and is “the heaviest thing she’s ever written.” In response to everyone’s concern and consideration, Sharon responds: “I am doing fine. It’s just this is what I do.” I call it “The Beast” because it is relentless.” She freaking lets all hell lose on this one. Emotional implosion. Her voice is on the verge of SHATTERING at the very end as if her heart were all the sudden in her throat. 

We’ve been through better days And you’ve tasted all my pain

Break my legs so I won’t walk to you Cut my tongue so I can’t talk to you Burn my skin so I can’t feel you Stab my eyes so I can’t see You like it when I let you walk over me You tell me that you like it Your love is killing me

There he let it go, his temper, standing there See her with his gun and he, steals love so he can feel alive   (This line SLAYS ME) Everyone’s knees knockin’ at the fear of love Taste blood Everybody needs to feel.”

Following “The Beast” is a song (‘Every time The Sun Comes up‘) that Sharon introduces as “literal in every way,” and one that her band tricked her with: “People say I’m a one-hit wonder But what happens when I have two? I washed your dishes, but I shitted in your bathroom..’ (hahah) She follows with another hit from the new album, ‘I Love You But I’m Lost“: “Come in here and be yourself again I love you but I’m not somebody who take shots See me after I recoil I’m better than I know There’s room to grow .. Let’s turn it into something we can change I love you but I’m lost Between the pain and cost I hold myself alive.” After thanking TONS of people, including her old drummer (now manager), Zeke, Sharon says that she can either play a song or tell a story (for the encore). Riding on gut and intuition, Sharon dismisses (as nice as possible) the many song suggestions from the audience and instead says, “But I sorta had a plan, guys…‘  before she dazzles us with her last track on the album, “I Know.” “And then you push me out I know, I know And then you disappear because you can’t fight fear I know, I know ..I all ever wanted as YOU.”   (she warned us that it was going to be a sad one) Every time I write, it is for therapeutic purposes. I write when I am going through a really hard time. I hit record and sing stream of conscious. I usually let it out for about ten or twenty minutes and then wait a day or two then listen back a day or two later so I have some perspective on what I was going through. Nine times out of ten I don’t share those “songs” with anyone because they are too personal. The ones I choose to share are the ideas that are more relatable and universal so I don’t alienate the listener – and hopefully they can connect with it on their own personal level.”  YES, yes they do! We love you, “SHIZZLE.” (what she called herself on the set) xxx And to leave YOU on a personal level, here are a few interesting comments I read about Sharon in a recent interview: CP- What do you hope for? SVE—I hope to one day find balance in my life.   (my biggest struggle too!) CP—What motivates you to make music? SVE—Healing myself, helping others heal, and helping others feel not so alone. CP—What makes you smile? SVE—A dad with their kid, a stranger helping someone, someone else smiling (it’s contagious!) CP—When are you most at peace? SVE—At the beach. CP—What are you most scared of? SVE—Never settling down.     (ME TOO)

MORE PICTURES:

IMG_9271 IMG_9304 IMG_9294 IMG_9293 IMG_9292 IMG_9291 IMG_9290 IMG_9288 IMG_9287 IMG_9285 IMG_9285-001 IMG_9284 IMG_9283 IMG_9280 IMG_9272IMG_9276IMG_9274 IMG_9273 Recent interviews with Sharon: http://www.gigwise.com/news/91564/sharon-van-etten-im-not-broken-any-more http://thelabmagazine.com/2014/06/02/sharon-van-etten/ http://www.vulture.com/2014/05/fred-armisen-interviews-sharon-van-etten-new-album-are-we-there.html

Courtney Barnett (REVIEW): “In my brain I re-arrange the letters on the page to spell your name…” – Islington Assembly Hall and The Great Escape in London/Brighton (2014)

IMG_8505

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.

courtney

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!)

History Eraser

IMG_8490

IMG_8492

IMG_8495

IMG_8497

IMG_8518

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.)

Avent Gardener

Setting up a DOUBLY WHAMMY and hitting us with her two best in a row, she follows with the crowd pleaser, History Eraser.

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)

Depreston

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. ❤

IMG_9085-001
IMG_9061

IMG_9065

IMG_9068

IMG_9074

 

IMG_9080

 

IMG_9095-001

IMG_9095

IMG_9112

I should have asked her what the PEDIGOGEE (and foot) were referring to! Haha

All photos can be found on the ‘Courtney Barnett’ page of my blog: https://beatsthatsetmypulse.wordpress.com/courtney-barnett/