Having lived and performed in Brazil, Chile, Peru, Portugal and France, Bïa is truly a world artist. Musically active for over a decade yet relatively unknown, Bïa released her solid and versatile studio work Nocturno in 2008. Largely acoustic and soothing, it’s an ideal summer album. Nocturno combines gentle Bossa and Samba beats, Portuguese Fado influences with a distinct saudade quality, and delicate touches of jazz, rock, and klezmer music.
Katrine Ottosen’s album Fall Down (2008) is a debut that should not be left unnoticed despite the flood of DYI Indie artists. The Copenhagen-based musician who records under the name CALLmeKAT takes the listener with a distinctly Scandinavian sound: melancholic, floating and intense. Fall Down shifts between the experimental and the somewhat urban dream-pop, recalling the fragility of Stina Nordenstam and the edgy mysterious soundscapes of such artists as Klima and Sol Seppy.
A talented multi-instrumentalist, Jason Kanakis has been making a name for himself as a sideman for Aurgasm alum Cary Brothers, as well as Joshua Radin, Sara Bareilles, Rachael Yamagata and many others. While he has always been a writer and singer, Jason’s upcoming release is the first that is uniquely his own. “Anything,” which was written by Kanakis and Priscilla Ahn (another Aurgasm favorite), is a stunning preview from his new project, Jason Kanakis and his Coalition of the Unwilling. The track, which features Laura Jansen, is haunting and ethereal, and Laura’s delicate vocals are perfectly paired with Jason’s elegant instrumentals. “Anything” is a delightful showcase of Kanakis’ talents both in front of and behind the boards. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Let it wash over you.
When handed Gavin Glass‘s Holy Shakers album and told it’s more rock than what he’s playing with Lisa Hannigan‘s ensemble, never did I expect to be astonished and excited by genuine Southern rock sounds. Born and bred in Ireland, Gavin left school at eighteen to pursue various paths of music; eventually being impassioned by a documentary about Canada’s The Band. From there, his sound took on a timeless nostalgia of folk, country, blues and rock, with sparse moments of gospel and jazz. He sings like the heart of a soul that rarely gets to speak; a longing for years of wonder to embrace the hopes and dreams of childhood through ragged stages of growing up, discovering, and becoming whoever you are.
French chanson tradition, Chinese folk motifs, Continental jazz and Latin notes are interwoven together into a colourful collection of songs on Jessica Fichot’s debut album. The versatility of her debut Le Chemin (2007) mirrors her multicultural and multilingual background. Often accompanied by piano and accordion, recalling the rhythms of waltz, polka and cabaret music, Jessica’s elegant songwriting evokes the images of 19th century Parisian coffeehouses and dance halls. “1,2,3” is a fine example of her inventive songwriting, clear vocals and a distinctly French instrumentation.
I’m heading with Aurgasm friend, Adam, to Europe for three weeks in July.
Right after we land, we’re hitting up the Dour Festival in Belgium.
Totally psyched about this. We plan to bring you the same sort of broad coverage that we did for SXSW. Go check their lineup and yell at us if there’s anyone there we need to see.
We got our train passes
After the festival, we’re planning on meeting up with my brother in Stuttgart and taking the train around quite a bit. Right now we’re planning on hitting Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Prague, Olomouc, Krakow and Budapest. And then maybe Zagreb or Rijeka, Croatia, or Cluj, Romania, or somewhere else?
If anyone has suggestions for what to do or see, or any nearby cities, please leave a comment. (I might email you back) If you live in one of these spots, I’d love your perspective and we should definitely meet up for a drink!
Can I get some music, please?
Why, certainly :) Dub FX, is a beatbox artist who street performs all over Europe. Watching him construct one of his multilayered compositions is impressive—he throws some pitch-shifted bass underneath ethereal treble highlights and solid hip-hop vocals:
Some of you might have seen Allie Moss performing with the lovely Ingrid Michaelson. Her debut EP Passerby (2009) reveals Allie to be a strong and promising singer-songwriter on her own. The extremely captivating “Corner” displays Allie’s songwriting skills as well as her sweet vocals and clever phrasing, setting the tone for the rest of her EP. From bittersweet to soft and melancholic, Passerby is a solid and well-crafted collection of folk-pop songs.
Wilco fans (you know who you are) will recognize Nels Cline as that band’s lead guitarist, but he’s been doing other stuff on his own (collaborating, featuring, musicating, etc.) for a little over thirty years, now “” and yet, still, his solo stuff seems to remain under-appreciated. Perhaps some of it is too experimental for a big following (and I don’t mean that as any kind of affront to Wilco fans), like the opening track from Coward, his latest album; it’s called Epiphyllum, and is basically a wall of foamy, pulsating sound. The rest of the album, though, gets a little more melodic, borrowing heavily from Middle-Eastern sounds and even The Twilight Zone at one point, and rounding out nicely with Cymbidium, yet another wall of sound “” but one with cracks in it, chinks of guitar and scars of bass. There are shades of Susumu Yokota and maybe Faithless, too, and overall of quiet, confident comfort. Close your eyes and let it grow.
A ladybug from Miami’s South Beach can play the kazoo and charango while singing ~ who knew!? Well I’m sure glad to have finally found out, because Rachel Goodrich presents a pleasantry unlike any other. She grew up perceiving music as a seemingly essential ingredient for life, which may be what allows her to welcome any sound-making thing into her arena; dancing and tinkering in astounding whimsy. Quirky yet smooth, she meshes this inventive inventory into a joyful jubilee – donning theatrical highlights amidst her casual rhythms and rhymes that hearten emotions like new rays of sunshine. (thx, Ben)
Maneuvering brainwaves routed by intricately synthesized polymers of Moloko and Phon°noir familiarity, Frances Noon and Lazlo Legezar have materialized an undulating ecstasy that voyages vital force and bites at your feet. His surreal chorus of extravagant noises deploys a fulgent realm for her iridescent vocals; fluently shifting between sinister and saccharine to timid and giddy. As their motley, crystalline wisped sounds are consumed, a subterranean purlieu emerges. In a carnival’s bygone mystique of bright lights and smiles since ceded to a Hitchcock bale are mad hatters absconding to unite with strawberry shortcakes; rampantly dissolving the absurd, unwanted, depreciating rationalities that impersonate rainbows and he-man transgressions of societal laste. Where We Are threshes trip-hop’s quintessence into dizzying bits and pieces then coalesces to form a twisted treat of enigmatic, aural candy.