Friday, March 28, 2014

Some Music (Things) I Liked This Week

The Black Keys

The Black Keys are your favorite band. You want to buy their music. You want to wear their t-shirts and go to their shows and tell all of your friends about them. You will be hypnotized by "Fever" from their forthcoming Turn Blue. You will be thankful that they're working with Danger Mouse.



I had the pleasure of booking bands for South Dakota State University my sophomore and junior years of college. We had a modest budget, which forced me to use it wisely on bands who were (hopefully) on the rise. While some went on to become seven-time Grammy Award winners, many others are still releasing new music and enjoying their own brand of success.

In the case of PHOX, I brought one of their members to campus twice as a member of a different band, We The Living*. I enjoyed the members of the band so much, that I continue to follow their individual careers - notably John Paul Roney as Boom Forest and Matt Holmen with PHOX, who will release their first full length record on June 24 via 4AD.

* Coincidentally, Timehop reminded me that I brought them to SDSU for the last time six years ago today.


Union Grove Pickers

via Wes Eisenhauer
Sioux Falls isn't exactly a musical destination. If you want a glimpse of your favorite band, your best chance is to stand at the intersection of I-90 and I-29 and wave at their van as they drive by on their way to Minneapolis or Omaha or Denver. So how does an audiophile get their musical fix in the Queen City? Fortunately for such people, Sioux Falls is home to a few fine bands whose members, if you've lived here long enough, you'll know by name. There's even a good chance you've attended their Fourth of July picnic.

One of those talented bands is the Union Grove Pickers. They recently self-released their second full-length album, Great Plains Driftin'. I find a certain comfort in folk music, especially as it's presented by UGP. No matter the venue, they develop an intimacy with the audience that makes you feel at home, as if they've plucked their instruments from behind their lawn chairs to play you a few warm songs around a campfire. Take a moment to listen to a few of their new songs via Bandcamp and if you're compelled, pop out and grab a copy on vinyl. And if you're really invested, maybe you'd like to buy a hand-crafted instrument from member Josh Rieck.


Mas Ysa

In the most Canadian move ever, Mas Ysa (née Thomas Arsenault) features a lot of hockey and wilderness in his video for "Why" from his new EP Worth.


Cover Story: Mac DeMarco

As a Journalism major, I was made aware of my impending doom the moment I registered for my first class in 2005. "Newspapers are dying." "Magazines make for better kindling than literature." "You might as well wad up your tuition money, dissolve it into a sludge, melt it in a teaspoon over a fading candle, and inject it straight into your veins, because that's the only way you'll get a taste of money." But if you're interested in story-telling, you don't run from a challenge, you adapt with the times and find a new way to explore your craft.

That's what I appreciate about Pitchfork Cover Stories. While many magazines still deliver compelling stories online, they're often confining themselves to single-column, header image placed neatly above the byline layouts. Pitchfork is amongst the few (that I know of) who use the Internet to assist their story-telling. I'll admit, if your story is good enough, you could deliver it without gadgetry and I'll be quite content. But when you're interviewing a flamboyant character like Mac DeMarco, .gifs, parallax scrolling and crisp design take a good story and make it even more memorable.

Amongst writers, and for myself I use that term loosely, maybe I'm in the minority who are encouraged and excited by a new form of storytelling. Perhaps I'm just another bored, overstimulated cog in the Millennial machine who needs you to dangle a set of keys in front of my face every once in a while to gain my attention. That could be. But maybe it's not a bad thing to give a distracted generation a reason to slow down and enjoy a good story.

See for yourself and read "Mannish Boy" by Evan Minsker here.


La Blogothéque Amendment

I published too soon this week, but I couldn't wait another seven days to share what La Blogothéque has been up to lately. Above, you'll see a tribute to Johnny Cash featuring Brandon Flowers (The Killers), Father John Misty (Josh Tillman), and Local Natives (Local Natives). This comes on the heels of Out Among The Stars, the latest post-humenous release from the Cash estate.

I'd also recommend checking out the Frankie Cosmos "Les Concerts A Emporter" and the "Soirêe de Poche" from Son Lux.

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