Archive for December, 2010

Joyous.

Posted: December 27, 2010 by catcass in concerts
Tags: , ,

Sufjan Stevens at the Beacon Theater, NYC. 11/15/10

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Photos by Catherine Casalino

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Top 10 of 2010

Posted: December 22, 2010 by kbwrote in Album, New Album
Tags: ,

Today in the spirit of Christmas a friend suggested everyone share their top picks for 2010. In the spirit of end of year top ten lists, I’ve posted my response here. Enjoy!

Top 10 Albums of the Year

Most of the albums I have been listening to as of late/want to talk about are all in 2009 – that was a good year. So for 2010, I struggled but came to these:

1. Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz
2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

3. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

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Songs for Christmas- Sufjan Stevens

Songs for Christmas- Sufjan Stevens

At this point in December, you’ve probably heard enough Christmas music to want to blow your brains out or at least threaten Santa Claus with shooting one of his reindeer. So here is something to mix it up a bit with actual Christmas music you want to hear.

Every year, Sufjan Stevens recorded Christmas EP’s to give to his friends and family and a couple of years ago, he released five of the volumes in a box set for everyone to enjoy. The Dessner brothers from the National recently played a couple of Sufjan’s newer Christmas songs that were in unreleased later volumes on a radio show so I figured now would be a good time to give you an incentive to buy the box set and then google the later volumes and download the torrents.

You can stream for free all of the released volumes below at the bandcamp stream and purchase for only $12:

Here are two of my favorites from the box set, the ridiculously beautiful Sister Winter and Star Of Wonder:

And here is the best version of Joy to the World you’ll ever hear (from the box set) and an amazingly awesome electronic version of the same song off the unreleased Vol. 8:

Barcarola is the song that the Dessner brothers played. I believe it is off the unreleased Vol. 6:

Get ready for it… the unreleased 13 minute “The Child with the Star on His Head” off Vol. 8:

And another great one off of Vol. 8, “Christmas in the Room”:

Andrew Bird and KellyThis week I saw the last of three Andrew Bird shows at the Sixth and I Synagogue in Washington, D.C. – one of the best shows I have been to. This is one very gifted and talented musician.

He played the entire show by himself, all the instruments, background vocals, everything by using a loop machine and projecting the sound out of these amazing custom-made gramophone-looking speakers (one of them even rotated). Really never seen anything like it.

I had a chance to speak with Bird after the show and ask a few questions:
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Thanks to a tweet from Owen Pallett today, I stumbled across this project produced by the NYTimes Magazine. It is a collection of film shorts – fourteen in total. All shot in black and white directed by Solve Sundsbo, music by Owen Pallett and acted by a collection of actors (really well-known) including: Javier Bardem, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall.

These shorts are really well done, very artistic and demonstrate how important music is to film to acting and vice versa. Also, I really enjoy anything you can term “slice of life” where nothing really happens so much as you are watching an actor’s body language, their mannerisms, how they ignore or pay attention to the camera.  These shorts give you that feeling that we are watching something intimate and the music gives it all that drama!

I realize I have rambled enough and am clearly starving for some artistic inspiration. Of course, I am going to an Andrew Bird concert tonight, so that might help out. More on that later…until then check out these film shorts or at the very least listen to the score. It will enrich your Wednesday, guaranteed.

Last month I saw two concerts where the headliner disappointed but the opening band far exceeded expectations. Normally in these situations, I stick to the sage advice from my mom, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But I think the positive cancels out the negative in this case and it’s a chance to give some proper attention to an underrepresented band.

11/15 Kate Nash w Peggy Sue at 9:30 club: Arrived early enough to see the entire set for Peggy Sue. A really talented band of three – one drummer and two singers/guitarists/percussionists hailing from the UK.

They are part 4 Non Blondes, part blues/folk (kinda like Rusty Belle) – strong voices and great harmonies. I recommend checking out tracks: “Yo Mama”, “The Watchman”, “February Snow”, and “The Shape We Made” from their album, Fossils and Other Phantoms.

Also check out this rendition of “Yo Mama” playing outside of a venue in D.C. without a drum set or speakers and they still sound good. Bravo.

11/3 Interpol concert at DAR/Constitution Hall: White Rabbits knocked it out with “Percussion Gun” – great beats and high energy, at one point they had three drummers! Interpol on the other hand was really disappointing, I’ve never been a huge fan but to tell you the truth I wouldn’t have known if they played any of the songs I knew, because they all sounded the same and I was bored. Plus, not that it should matter, but they were all dressed in these black zoot suit types with red shirts and black ties. It just looked silly and put on. The highlight of the concert was the drunk girl sitting next to me, that girl was hilarious.

Here’s to great opening bands this month and next year!