Mignonette by The Avett Brothers

The album Mignonette by the Avett Brothers is undoubtedly a great album. These guys have amazed me since I first heard A Carolina Jubilee many years ago.

I once heard a quote from these guys: “If we don’t leave the stage covered in sweat, then we haven’t put ourselves into our show.” I’m not sure if they still feel the same since they’ve become bigger, signed by Sony, worked with Rick Ruben, and toured the world a few times by now, but they still give me the same sweet sensation whenever I hear their music.

To me the Avett Brothers signify good music. Layered with banjo, double bass (standup), easy percussions, soulful guitar, and sometimes the piano, this music just…. Yes, is the best thing in the world.

This album, Mignonette, starts off with the cd title track in a sentimental version, which somewhat sets the mood for the whole album. Although it immediately kicks into a somewhat more upbeat song right away with Nothing Short of Thankful, the whole album cuts into very… sentimental corners throughout the entirety.

Songs like Signs ring forever in my ears with Scott and Seth Avett’s harmonies.  It’s just something extraordinary that cannot be faked.

My favorite is how they always have songs starting with ‘Pretty Girl from…” or “Pretty Girl at… ”

Please Pardon Yourself is just a meander through a valley with a girl on your arm. Pleasant and pleasing, there is nothing more enjoyable to me than to hear the Avett Brothers pluck those strings and sing this kind of a song. They caress the emotionalism with every bite, and do it good at that. I cannot stress how much they rule.

The Day Marvin Gaye Died is another great song. Really, they are all finger licking good songs if you haven’t got the point yet.

The Avett Brothers play on a never ending loop in my head. They play acoustic songs, that are more empowering than most electrified acts can even dream about. They can stop in an instant and give you the feeling of looking up in the middle of a mosh pit covered in sweat for a few glimpsing moments of bliss, and then just as quickly kick the double bass of Bob Crawford kicks in and gets you hopping around once more like the heat of a bluegrass jubilee.

Check out the record and let me know how you enjoy it!

Baby Darling Dollface Honey by Band of Skulls

I had the pleasure of experiencing this dynamic trio, Band of Skulls at the Venue in late April, and what a show it was. This album is all that in a pre-packaged little gem of wonder for me to carry with me everywhere.

Baby Darling Dollface Honey is what new rock has turned into for me. The album epitomizes what its all about. Killer crunching guitar riffs that explode at times, but seek the most soothing lines at others filling up the spaces with rhythm that one wishes they could dream up, or is it that we dream up as it plays, its hard to tell.

The first few songs push you into a three piece galaxy that you’d think was experimental orchestrations with distortion pedals so fat the couldn’t make it through the studio doors so they had to be blasted from outdoors. Russel Marsden is really an amazing guitarist, and seeing him live really proved to me that he loves to play guitar, and has talent more than enough to make it sing.

Then as Fires and Honest come to the speakers, it slows down into melodic numbers that make me want to swirl around my room dancing like I was lost in heaven. I love Emma Richardson singing on Honest, its one of my favorite songs out there.

Soon though, it clicks back into tracks like Hollywood bowl that make you understand that this band is for real, a rock band, with all the love that goes on in it.

Get this album, its a doozie.

Fixin to Thrill by Dragonette

So recently I’ve got my hands on Dragonette‘s most recent album, Fixin To Thrill. It has, and will continue to amaze me with its dynamic sound, filled with reverberations of all sorts of genres.

Fixin to Thrill comes packed with punches of grunge, oozing with coolness like a casual saunter through a beautiful but sketchy park.

Throughout the entire album, I found myself constantly saying, wow this is good. Its a side step from a lot of music coming through these doors as of late, that are folk blues artists.

The lead singer, Martina Sorbara completely packs the sexyness and prowess that a flashy rocking band like Dragonette requires, her voice is simply groovy.

Dragonette is a Canadian act, rocking since 2005, according to Wikipedia, and this is their third album out. Second one on their record label Mercury Records, the first being Galore (2007). Their first a self titled EP released in 2005.
Galore is also a great album, but, Fixin to Thrill just steps it up to a whole new level.

There are electronic grooves that keep the songs all pumping, but then fat bass lines sink into the listener, both taking the ears on a grooving roller coaster.

To me this proves that the Synth is very far from dead.

If you have not heard it, check it out.

Brothers by The Black Keys

I got the word that the Black Keys new album was out, Brothers.

To start off with, I totally love it. I’ve been a fan since the day I heard them in a basement apartment the morning after rinking so much I was able to pass out fully clothed. Pretty much simply a love affair.

The album starts off with killer killer groove so fat you could shake a stick at it, with Everlasting Light.

Dan Auerbach belts out them lyrics like he fits right in. Something about this band just blows me away. Patrick Carney knows where its at, when he’s talking serious with the drums. They match up like ketchup and mustard; beets and grooves that make sense.

The album feels like they’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the instruments, and toys to play around with. I like that. Its rock but its rocked, if you will. Theres this kazoo maybe in Howlin’ For You, which reminds me of what I’ve heard so many times of Jimi Hendrix, how he just pulled out a kazoo and made it killer. When do they really fit in one may digress.

On She’s Long Gone the distortion on the guitar is like Jack White is holding a conference with John Lee Hooker. Or maybe even RL Burnside is over for some tea, just lacing in some harmony.

I get feelings that the Black Crowes would have been of something like this if brothers were a two man band. The Black Keys are filled with soul, they’ve got groove, they’ve got style, and they’ve got sound.

The Only One gave me moments of recognizing what I’m used to hearing from the band. Not that its always sounding like one thing, but it just gave me that feeling.

The later songs on the album put you into a pleasant place as well. Somewhat stepping you onto Groove Street, filling your bowels with organs that will walk you ahead like an old lady with a walker needs.

Really, if I had to sum up the album, its as it should be. The Black Keys will stun you off the bat, drawing you to them with their sound, make you feel good and in a comfortable place. Its one of those albums that you’ll kinda sit back and enjoy to listen to. Its as much of a mixed tape as it could be, clearly drawing from inspiration all over the place. Proving that this group of veterans still listens to music, and still finds soul within them.

This album will be one of my favorites.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a fiction book, but has so many situations and influential ideals that it shouldn’t be considered fiction. Its more of a spiritual book, and a great book at that.

The books I’ve been picking up lately are finding themselves to be spiritual journey type books and this one definitely takes the cake. It follows the travels of Brahmin’s son through his journey of life, and speaks from Siddhartha’s mind in the first person, explaining how he learns to find peace in everything around.

It starts off when young Siddhartha listens to his own voice, which tells him he must leave home to find what he’s looking for. Of course, as all fathers would be, his dislikes the idea, but with Siddhartha’s patience, his father understands that it is what must happen, and blesses his son on his journey.

I was sad at the end when Siddhartha has a moment of reflection about how he never does return to his father, but I will leave that for you to be moved by in your own way.

Siddhartha goes from being a Brahmin’s son, to living with the Samanas in the forests begging for food, then leaves to seek Buddha, but finds that what Buddha is teaching, is the same thing that all the rest have taught him, and what he has been searching for his whole life is something that only he can find himself.

Soon after this realization, he leaves his lifelong friend to stay and practice as a monk under the illustrious Buddha to let himself become a Businessman, seeking wealth & love, which in themselves bring many more extravagances. Let it be known that Siddhartha could not keep happy in such a direction.

I found it compelling and very interesting at every new leaf that Siddhartha turns over, every new discovery about his path that he realizes. Its always amazing to take what you learn from such a book and apply it to ones own life, for it makes a lot of strife so much less important in the scheme of things. This is, I assume, what most people who are searching, are looking for.

Read this book, no doubt about it. It will become a book you will reach for again and again.

Red Circle Underground Show @ AC Supper Club, Venice, CA

On Friday night I had the pleasure of watching Red Circle Underground rock out at the Air Conditioned Supper Club in Venice, California. Yes, I have had a little road trip!

It was my first introduction to the LA scene of music, so it was super cool to begin with, without the bands even starting. The club was a fairly tiny place, but inside its had a pretty cool vibe.

Shattered Sons opened up the night; they were pretty cool. They had moments of coolness,  so I gotta support them.

Costa Nova also played before RCU. They were also pretty good, definitely with some more moments of greatness as well. I liked them more than Shattered Sons. They all rocked it pretty great, and they also totally supported all the other bands playing as well, which was super cool to see.

Then came on Red Circle Underground. My friend that invited me to the show had previously played me some of their stuff, and I was already a fan, but when I heard them sing live and got to see them right there, I was amazed. To me, they stood out from the rest easily. Just their sound, creative juices you could feel. Props to all the fellas of the band, you guys killed it.

Kevin J. Witucki on the drums was just amazing. Rattling off very cool beats that most definitely weren’t something you buy in plastic wrap. Jonah Grey on vocals also took the stage with the same fury. He has a killer set of chords that I think take this band higher.

They did however share a lot of the vocals, and Ali Mills, who by the way had some killer moccasins on, added a very good twist, further amazed me with the quality in Red Circle.

Jonathan Stipp held the band together with some very solid bass, squished into the corner with Britton Sparkman killed it on lead guitar that when mixed with the harmonica of Dylan Grey gave RCU not one moment of suck, purely enjoyable music these guys and gal put out for my ears.

I felt this venue was to small for this band to be honest. Their sound is way larger than what they were packed into, and they needed more space to fully explode their sound, and let it fully be heard. I can’t wait to hear more from these guys. However, due to the size of the venue,  I was able to hang with a few members of some of the bands afterwards. Totally great group from RCU and Costa Nova which I totally felt all the love that these guys have for one another and the scene they are apart of. So much support, I’m amazed with and happy to see.

After Red Circle played their set, a few burlesque dancers came out and did a couple fansy numbers. I’ve never seen this before, and I think that this is something that should be done a lot more in more venues. Totally adds a whole new spice to the show, and makes it super cool in between sets, while the band takes down and sets up for the next. I want to make a note now also of apainter who was doing live paintings as all the bands and the hubbub was going on around him, right in the club, who was eager to talk to me. His art was super cool, and I’m definitely going to be watching his stuff gain in value. I wish I would have been able to buy one of his works that he did, totally had a Bua feel to it.

Nu Savant came on after. They had some moments of glory where they totally nailed it as well.

To be honest, I felt that Red Circle Underground stole the night. I’m super excited for what they’re doing, and am proud to call them my friends. Can’t wait till they come to a town closer to me!

All the coolness of the night was bottled and packaged by a crazy cool photographer  Angela Holtzen, who took some amazing photos, that you must all check out. The photographs on this page are all hers.

Band of Skulls @ Venue, Vancouver BC

I had the ultimate pleasure of seeing the Band of Skulls preform at Venue, downtown Vancouver BC on Sunday night. It was an awesome show. As of late, I’ve been trying to focus on my own thing and not go to as many concerts as I’m used to for sometimes one has to focus more on creating than being influenced. Sometimes the balance is needed.

The Venue is a nice and small venue, newly done over from whatever it was before, I forget now. I thought the sound could have been turned up, but thats just me..

To open up the show was a band called Saint Motel. They ruled. They are a band from California who could rock and had character. Really fit the bill, sometimes you get opening bands that are kinda not all good, but these guys were rocking. Check them out any where and any chance you can get. They had this totally cool video on repeat in the background, clearly they put in some time to make it, it had a bunch of vancouver references. It was very sexual in content, which increased desire! Their drummer really killed it with some amazing drumming. I thought he was spot on the whole night.

The second opening band was Silver Starling. They are from Montreal, and at least one of the members is from the group Arcade Fire, Marika Anthony-Shaw I believe. Marcus Paquin could really sing and did present a lot of leadership on the stage.  Check out their bio on the page listed. Pretty cool webpage. They rocked, and truly did give me the feeling of an Arcade Fire-esque influenced band, but this is to be expected, since they do play the same scene… somewhat.. or did… Listen and tell me what you think?

The main event. Band of Skulls . These guys rocked. Came out, put together a great show. I read an article on the show, and the guy was complaining that ‘once they get more professional, they wont find the need to turn their backs to the crowd’ bullshit. Me, I dig that, it means their really trying to groove together, their really feeling it. Russell Marsden was frequently playing with his amps feedback, trying to get it right, and wammying away with splendor like a guitar hero he will go down as.

Emma Richardson just plain out rocks. Her voice is just as beautiful as Russell’s is but more controlled. Russell seems to have more finesse if you will. But Emma is like what you’d expect a Ramones sister to be like: tall, long black hair with bangs in the front, and a seemingly shy or sublime demeanor to her.

In fact, they both had that feeling to them. Russell was singing through his hair the whole night, but this did not effect their show at all. In fact, it was great to hear some awesome music coming out of the speakers. Like I said before, I wish they would have turned it up.

I was standing right next to the stage the whole night, right by where all the commotion of set-up/take-down went on, so it was kind of fun to see all the band members scurry around setting up, breaking down the set. I’m a musician so I like to see how they do their thing.

I found that all three bands I was wanting them to play more songs. Keep on going, extend the songs, do a freek out solo, etc. etc. But thats just me.

All in all, it was a great Show. I’ve seen a lot here in Vancouver, and this one is one of the cool ones. All three bands impressed me, I had real close seats, only for a few songs there was an annoying girl beside me flinging her hair stupidly so that it would hit me, but I made it known I would appreciate her to move the hell away from me. I think the boyfriend knew I was annoyed and he kind of dragged her to the side after a while.

I always wonder if a band looks out at the crowd and gets to know the people directly around them. I guess in the end were all human aren’t we?

Charlotte Gainsbourg @ Vogue in Vancouver

For my birthday, which just happened to be on the same night that Charlotte Gainsbourg opened her American tour in Vancouver, I had the pleasure of being entertained by said jewel.

You may have read my earlier post where I gave a brief review and a little biography, but this time I saw her live in concert. Odly enough, I wrote that blog before I had bought the ticket to this show.  Oh was she ever beautifully magnificent.  A lot of her songs she found herself holding the mic off the stand in her hands, intimately close where she could whisper her lyrics into the mic, just like I love her to do. Really, it perfectly topped off my day and sent me into a blissful haven.

Sometimes, at these shows that are sitting down, you get people that stand up directly in front of you, annoying you and their cheeryness….. but at this show, I think she controls the mood greatly with her persona so much so that everybody is just sitting there mesmerized by her. Very delicate and… hmm. Maybe its her French accent.

When she came out, you could hear people in the crowd gasp as they looked on at her, amazed by her presence, persona.. all of it combined. She came out with these striped pants, that had leather pockets and back side to them, which were bizarre in the most incredibly sexy way, and yes, I’d love to know where she got them from. She also had on this thin strip of a black scarf like thing that just hung around her neck, contrasting with her white tank top.

Her band was a pretty amazing crew. They all had character, even the bass player hidden in the back corner, and all playing with instruments of all sorts to get the sound of Charlotte. She had this fuzz pad thing, not sure what its called, but depending on where you touch it, and how you touch it, it creates space effects, which in my mind give her sound extra goodness.

The opening act that came on was AM, who were pretty damn good. I had heard about them before going to the show, and when I was there, I really enjoyed them. I love when a band pulls out the uke, which they did, and swelled my heart.

Another band came on after them, which I’m not sure was a official band with a name, but they fooled around, I suspect in pre-arranged song format. It was one of the guitarists for Charlotte and a DJ playing with knobs and a laptop. I forget their names, but I really enjoyed the singing of the DJ. I hope he start singing more. This act really bordered on a electronic act, if it weren’t for the fusion guitar that was being belted out. There were times where it was a little hard to handle, but others where I was quite enjoying it.

The whole night, all three acts were very soft spoken, personable, and cute. They all seemed very humble, and I most definitely would jump at the opportunity to meet any one of them again. If your reading this trying to debate whether or not to go to the show, GO. Buy your ticket now. Its just a shame that you all weren’t able to catch the show on Sunday April 11th with me, because it was the perfect venue, Vogue Theater, and a perfect night for myself, and I’m sure all the rest of the folks in the theater.

A cool fact that Charlotte mentioned is that the night I saw her, was her first show in America of the tour, her first tour, and her first time in Vancouver, so needless to say I felt incredibly honored. For more of her tour schedule, and to see if she’s coming near your check out her webpage. Charlotte, if you happen upon this blog, I wish I could shower you with big hugs in thank you for what you’ve given me, keep on truckin girl.

As a side note, I’m slowly starting to go to concerts again. Its been almost a half year since I’ve stopped, to hopefully focus on my own artistic interests, and it was a really nice way to get back into it again. I am trying to keep it to shows under $30, which Charlotte wasn’t! Neither will Jack Johnson, but what can you do…

Did anybody else go to the show? Love to hear what you thought about it.