Thursday, January 27, 2011

sossamon + more

Alright, this was hastily posted. The YU is an awesome non-profit in Portland, OR that's purpose is to provide a space for artists to work. I want to have a smaller-scale space of my own when I grow up.
* Multiple-gallery exhibitions of contemporary art
* Performance, screenings, music, lectures and conversation
* Artist residency program
* Publishing
* Community engagement

* Two galleries dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art
* Virtual wing dedicated to the exhibition of new media, hosted in the safe
* 100 seat flex-space for lectures, performing arts, screenings, readings and more
* Four resident spaces for guest artists
* Café, bookstore and adjacent open-air courtyard
* Offices, work and meeting spaces, and storage rooms
* Audio recording studio
* Letterpress and small offset printmaking studio
* Wood and metal production shop
* Library reading room
* Large kitchen
* Speakeasy
* Sauna, steam room and laundry facilities
* Large freight and ADA accesible elevator issue 07 is an awesome web-zine I found out about through Sharon Van Etten, because they did an interview with her. They also interviewed Shannyn Sossamon, which is an interesting read. But it persuaded me to look up her music-composing history, and I found this:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Wrap-up

Alright, time for my three cents.
In my third year of compiling my favorite albums of the year, I have finally realized that I always finish mine, and then in reading and listening to others, realize what I'd missed. Since most of the media outlets come out with their lists at the beginning of December, I've been trying to play catch-up. This has allowed me to create a list that isn't redundant. You won't find any Arcade Fire, Best Coast, Sufjan or Wavves this time. Enjoy something not blasted about on Stereogum or Pitchfork.

Reading Rainbow - Prism Eyes

I discovered Reading Rainbow through a really cool pseudo-Daytrotter site called Shaking Through, where they bring in a band, usually one with little "professional" recording experience, and let them loose in their studio for three days to record a song, so that they have a good quality, high production value or whatever recording. It's just to try and give good, unknown bands a little helping hand, in that they get some experience and exposure. Anyway, this is supposed to be about the band Reading Rainbow. A married couple, Robbie and Sarah make dirty-noisy-poppy pop. Their sound is pretty huge for only two people due to Robbie using 35 amps at a time, Sarah's constant drum beats, and their almost constant double-vocals.

Party Photographers - Party Photographers 7"

Party Photographers are another Shaking Through artist. It's great fuzzed-the-hell-out pop. This can hardly be called a release, but I really, really like it.

Happy Birthday - Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday is the side project of Kyle Thomas, who typically works under the moniker King Tuff. He enlisted Chris Weisman and Ruth Garbus, the sister of one of my favorites, Merrill Garbus, the genius behind tUnE-yArDs.

Dark Dark Dark - Wild Go

Dark Dark Dark are flippin' awesome. There are a few quotes here that describe their sound, but suffice it to say that they create slow, haunting, emotive songs. The songs are piano-driven, with large doses of accordion, choir-style backing vocals, and they feel like they've been filtered through early-'90's mom-glasses.

U.S. Girls - Go Grey

U.S. Girls are tape-based noise-pop. I don't know or understand how she makes any of her music, but it's great. Experimental noise isn't everyone's professed absolute fav, but you shouldn't judge this by labels. Excellent sonic creation going on here, Friends.

Anna Von Hausswolff - Singing From The Grave

I've expressed my love for Swedish music before, and here I am proved correct once again. Singing From The Grave is a piano-balladeer's masterpiece. It's surprising that this is a debut; she has a very fully realized voice, and the arrangements are powerful and excellent.

jj - nº 3
jj is another excellent Swedish export. They make some of the sweetest pop songs around, with lush sonic landscapes using layers upon layers of barely-there instrumentation and electronics or the occasional sample. As I've quoted previously, they "sing in lower case," which is one of my favorite descriptions of anything I've encountered. Definitely for fans of The xx, or anyone else who might like music.

Thee Oh Sees - Warm Slime

All-time greats in the indie world. This prolific indie-noise-pop band releases yet another gem. The song Warm Slime is a three-minute pop song followed by ten minutes of jamming, and you couldn't ask for more.

Scout Niblett - The Calcination Of Scout Niblett

Scout Niblett is a minimalistic blues singer-songwriter. She creates raw, powerful music, most of the time, with solely an electic guitar. Her streched voice is the perfect pairing, and the result is well worth a listen.

Warpaint - The Fool

Warpaint is like someone passed through The XX, jj, and ended up in a room, drowsy, with a need to play themselves to sleep, in the absolute best of ways. I can apply my description that I came up with for The XX to Warpaint: they sound like you're listening to them through a microscope. It's so intimate, it feels like you need to get down real close and turn things up to hear the minuscule music being created. It's sonically equivalent to
microscopic photography. Fun fact, one of their founding (previous) members is Shannyn Sossamon, who you may know as Jocelyn from A Knight's Tale, or, if you're really cool, Mikal, from Wristcutters: A Love Story. Her sister, Jenny Lee Lindberg, is the bass player and a founding member.

Silje Nes - Opticks

Hailing from Norway, Silje Nes is another excellent, quiet singer-songwriter. This one is full of depth and layers to explore with listen after listen.

Ödland - Ottocento

Ödland is a French band hailing from Lyon, and you can learn all about them here. This is their first album, following an excellent EP, and to me, it sounds very French. That's the most accurate description I can think of, and you'll understand when you hear. It's fantastic and imaginative, quirky and poppy.

Eternal Summers - Silver

If I remember correctly, I found Eternal Summers while on Reading Rainbow's blog, and am I glad I did. They're a guitar and drums duo from Virginia, who create some of the best fuzz-pop I've heard this year. Plus, Nicole plays a Parker Fly, so, bonus points. The video below typifies their sound, but I absolutely love this song as well. My only complaint is that an Eternal Summer song is far shorter than eternal; most of their songs are about two minutes.

Dawn Landes - Sweetheart Rodeo

Dawn Landes is a Texan singer-songwriter, who is the slightest bit country, but in the best of ways. Also, she finishes Sweetheart Rodeo with a cover of Françoise Hardy's Tous Les Garçons Et Les Filles, which I love, not because I've heard it before, but just because I love French things maybe a bit too much for speaking it so poorly.

Fang Island - Fang Island

Fang Island sounds like you got dropped into the middle of a riot, and upon seeing you, the rioters were so excited to see you, that they started playing instruments just to welcome you. This album if 100% energy, 100% of the time, and it's wonderful. This is one of the most random-weird videos I've seen, by the way.

Standard Fare - The Noyelle Beat

I love Standard Fare. They make some of the most optimistic indie-pop, cultivated in large part by the pony-tail-sounding female vocals and the extraordinarily round, bell-ish guitar. The ultra punchy bass doesn't hurt, either.

Dustin Wong - Infinite Love

Probably the best modern instrumental album I've ever heard.

Glasser - Ring

Glasser is Cameron Mesirow. The songs on Ring are, as I understand it, essentially the same as she originally created them in GarageBand, just with some added production. They're essentially beats and singing, which is great! She earns comparisons to Björk, Fever Ray, and Florence and the Machine. I think the most cop-out, but also most accurate comparison is that she's like an easy-to-get-into Björk (although I don't understand how everyone doesn't just love Björk, but that's an argument for a different time). This video is really interesting, and goes to show that some people are far too smart.

Circle Pit - Bruise Constellation

Circle Pit are a glam-punk duo that sound a lot better than the genre label I've given them. They go well with the recent chill-wave, west-coast noise-pop that's recently flooded the market, but they have a pretty unique take. They are more classic punk than most of the stuff around now, in the best of ways.

Love Is All - Two Thousand And Ten Injuries

Sweden's Love Is All is sax-driven indie-pop. If I were to sum up their sound with one word, it would probably have to be wild, or maybe un-tame would be more accurate. Another sweet thing I just found out is that they 'like' tennis on their page, which is awesome, because I like tennis, so, you know, they're just like me, right?!?! Anyway, Two Thousand And Ten Injuries is nothing less than a solid, upbeat, make-you-move album.

Òlöf Arnalds - Innundir Skinni

Òlöf Arnalds is an Icelandic artist, who has toured extensively with múm. She plays tiny songs that wash over you like a patch of soft sunlight.

Buke & Gass - Riposte

I'm sorta breaking my rule with this one, but it's too good to leave out. I found out about Buke & Gass on NPR, I think while listening to NPR's end of the year wrap-up. Buke & Gass are Aron and Arone, who play a bass-ukulele (the Buke) and a hybrid, half-guitar, half-bass (the Gass). They play these sweet instruments through homemade amps and effects their friend makes for them. When they play live, the male (who plays the Gass) also plays a bass drum, and the female has various percussion objects strapped to one of her legs, and they end up with a surprisingly full sound, somewhere between Deerhoof and Micachu.

Wise Blood - `+`

Wise Blood is one of my favorite things I've found this year (thank you, Cymbals Eat Guitars). It's sample-based electro-jam, and I can't get enough.

"B.I.G. E.G.O." from david parker on Vimeo.