Monday, May 5, 2008

taking a break from blogging

I'm taking a week or two off from blogging, mostly because I'm attending and reviewing four concerts this week (I'll let you know when they're posted on Since I've heard that some of my friends (shockingly) heed my music advice, I'll leave you with a few thoughts to hold you over.

First, (Boston friends) come to these shows with me!

- The Acorn @ Great Scott, 5/7
This indie Ottawa band recently released a simply lovely album based on the life of the singer's mother. Through the vivid imagery of the lyrics and the integration of world sounds, Glory Hope Mountain creates a beautiful and touching narrative. And I hear they're great live, to boot!

- El Perro del Mar, Lykke Li @ Middle East Upstairs, 5/9
These Scandinavian songstresses have been hyped up everywhere else, and there's nothing more for me to add. Good opportunity to see some talented artists in a small space before they get more popular.

- Death Cab for Cutie, Bob Mould, P.O.T.U.S.A., @ Bank of America Pavilion 5/10
This is the Phoenix's/WFNX's big concert at the BOA Pavilion. I don't care too much about this show, but E scored us some free tix, so yea!? I do love Death Cab, though.

- Cut Copy, Black Kids, Mobius Band @ The Paradise, 5/12
This is sold out, but good luck on craigslist! I like all three bands, so I'm psyched. Sounds like Black Kids have finally outlived their grace period in the blog hype machine, but all will be forgiven when then play "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You." Cut Copy is awesome new wave dance music coming from Australia.

and then the following week.... Devotchka! Vaudeville fun! Can't wait! As of today, tickets are still available, which is kind of surprising. This show should be bananas. They had acrobats at Coachella. Acrobats!

Second, I started writing an involved essay about art folk and how artists use different stylistic techniques to create mood. I think I'm getting somewhere, but it'll take me awhile to finish it. The summary of it is:

- Some artists use vocals, but not necessarily lyrics, to create mood of place (place as a state of mind or emotion). I put Bon Iver, DM Stith and Timothy Dick in this category.
- Others use vocals and rhythm to create mood of physical place (think how certain music evokes images of mountains and open spaces). In this case, natural elements are often the characters or the storytellers. I put Great Lake Swimmers in this category.
- Other artists emphasize narrative, i.e., one subject's interaction with place. Rhythm and imagery-filled lyrics show this. The Acorn's Glory Hope Mountain falls under this category.
- And finally, some artists find meaning and create mood through storytelling, often through small interactions between subjects in the lyrics ala Hemingway. This is, of course, the great prophet Sufjan Stevens.

What I find interesting in trying to categorize these styles is thinking about why particular artists excel with their techniques. For example, members of The Acorn are visual artists, and likely are drawn to lyrics with vivid imagery. Likewise, Sufjan Stevens is a studied writer, thus excels at storytelling (witness his "Christmas Tube Socks" essay from the Christmas box set).

All this to say, hit up the links, and send me insight if you have it: pezbeth [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Finally, if you still can't think of a way to waste you time waiting for me to return, watch this video where crazy musical genius Devendra Banhart (whom I've never mentioned on this blog, but I discovered a few months ago) displays and comments on his vinyl collection. Thanks to popserious for the link, which is also a good time waster. From my understanding, it's a bunch of NY friends contributing theme-based columns to a collaborative blog, post- hipster salad days of 2004-2006 (AKA the Misshapes era), when many of them wrote popular individual blogs. My favorite post is this one, which serves as anecdotal proof to my theory that the graduation rate of Berklee is 0% (sorry, Berklee friends!).

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