I don’t think it’s pertinent to explain the sound of a classical orchestra. Everyone has some memory of legendary artists like Beethoven or even growing up watched Disney’s Fantasia. Classical music may even be assoicated with a different day and age, or at the very least the epitome of it’s societal popularity is placed in the past. Volker Bertelmann from Germany tests our understanding of this genre and its place in a modern pop culture society.
Utilizing a prepared piano that he adjusts and tweaks with ping pong balls, leather, tape, weights etc to create a sound that is thick and full to the point where a blind listener might assume the use of a full band with multiple members and instruments. His understanding of the piano goes deep. His compositions have allowed wiggle room for a modern twist. Bertelmann who goes by stage name Hauschka has taken the common understanding of the piano and startled his audience.
The drums rumble, the bass pounds in deep riffs, the acoustic guitar is played with a pluck/slap combination and is that a rain stick? A violin? A marimba? The full-bodied sound is detailed and intricate, but it all stems, in actuality, from a single piano. It is beautiful and bold yet soft and melodic while singing a story. It’s reminiscent of the sounds of a city, creates the urge to spin in circles on a mountain top and feels like freshly extracted espresso on a chilly evening. Attending a Hauschka performance takes one out of the present and allows for escapism to an experimental world yet to be discovered.
See Hauschka perform tonight at The Loft at UCSD!
A sound that feels rustic like eating eggs straight from the source. A sound that makes you want to float down a river via moonlight. A sound that can serenade or inspire a two step. The Infamous Stringdusters formed in 2006 create good ol’ American music that brings images of cowboy boots, chivalry and simpler times to the mind. It can feel folk-ish or even a little pop at times, but there’s nothing like a fast-picking banjo to remind you that the fundamental strength of the sound is bluegrass. The quintet features a dobro, a guitar, a banjo, a fiddle and an upright bass in an acoustic collaboration.What makes the sound particularly unique is their crisp five member harmonizations. The vocal fluidity is organic and raw with compounding energy as each member adds their own personal sound to the mix.
The Infamous Stringdusters have released five albums. The latest, Let It Go, was released on April 1, 2014 on High Country Recordings. From the begining, the band has found success. Their first album, Fork in the Road, won them ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ from the International Bluegrass Music Association. They continue to be well-received, making billboard charts and they have recieved various nominations and awards for their music. Their live shows are part of the appeal thanks to the stage-ready sound that performs better than recording equipment can capture. The energy on stage is an engaging hum that subtly renders any distractions as obsolete.
See The Infamous Stringdusters live at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach!
Here’s a throwback to a recommendation I wrote in the not-so bitter winter of January. Although, I do absolutely love the constantly evolving music scene, sometimes something comforting is just what’s needed on a mellow Monday Night.
The indie folk craze that has taken off in the last few years is still blossoming. It seems a bit formulatic at first: male and female harmonized vocals, acoustic string instruments with plenty of variety and a storytelling approach to songwriting. However, if you look at bands like The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons or even local band The Peripherals you’ll notice that despite the similarities there are massive tone and vibe differences in how they make you feel. Miner, out of Silverlake (LA), seems to be falling into this general grouping. Although, it’s a bit soon to fully understand Miner because (despite my massive internet search) it seems they’ve only released two tracks and their debut album is only available through purchase.
The lead vocalists for Miner are husband and wife duo Justin and Kate Miner. Through their songs they tell stories about the day-to-day experience of life with a very human emotional accessibility. This simplistic concepts don’t fall flat, but are brightened and made almost ecstatic through a building momentum of sound. The combination of harmonized vocals with the sweet plucking string instruments, twinkling keys and the simple clicking percussion seems to start melllow and build and escalate until they erupt in a euphoric outcry. It’s definitely something you can feel; an emotional experience. Despite only having heard two songs, it seems Miner is off to the right track and bring curiosity to their performance tonight at the Casbah!
The type of band that can make you feel comfortable in any bar, no matter how grungy or dim; Leopold and His Fiction most likely will even inspire you to sway in your chair or get on your feet and stomp around in a finger-snapping groove. It’s like drinking whiskey on a warm night. Like sitting on the hood of a car smoking a cigarette while staring at the night sky. Like ordering breakfast for dinner, black coffee and all. Most importantly it touches you on an emotional level as the waves of sound are so purposefully constructed to clamp around your heart.
Lead vocalist Daniel James from Detroit uses his background for inspiration bringing a rock ‘n’ roll saturated with soul, motown blues and garage rock. Formed in 2005, and currently residing in Austin, Leopold and His Fiction have been crafting and perfecting their sound. Full of waves of energy, wailing guitar riffs, emotionally belted vocals and thundering percussion that’s ripe with swift playful rhythm their sound comes out clean and crisp while holding onto a grundginess that is lip-bitting good. At times it even feels retro thanks to the integration of soulful pop reminiscent of 1960s motown. The band released their first self-titled album in 2006 and came back with Ain’t No Surprise was released in 2009. Currently on tour, we can only hope that Leopold and His Fiction are working on a long-overdue album.
Catch Leopold and His Fiction at the Casbah tonight! For extra inspiration see picture below :P
Music to inspire dance moves isn’t hard to find these days. However, a retro sound that inspires the Charleston, the Breakaway or if you’re particularly fast-footed the Lindy Hop, is not a common occurance. French artist, Caravan Palace does just that utilizing clarinet, double bass, electronics, trombone, vibraphone, percussion, guitar and violins with enough energy to get you riled up in a frenzy of toe-tapping tantrums. This Electro-swing sound combines old 20s inspired jazz and swing beats with a modern electronic twist that at times even gives off a trip hop vibe.
The band formed in 2008 and released their first self-titled album that same year; followed up by Panic in 2012. The band tours regularly and this year they are on the Coachella bill and are making a stop in Solana Beach between festival weekends. Not only will you find yourself ready to let your body shimmy and your knees rattle at their live performances, but watching the band members get down with old school swing moves will brighten your night. It’s perfectly accompanied by a glass of whiskey and a cigar.
Catch Caravan Palace at the Belly Up Tavern tonight!
Inspired by the influential disco artists of the 70s, Classixx gives these old school sounds a “nu” twist. Formed in 2009, close friends Michael David and Tyler Blake are masters behind a mixer speicalizing in synth heavy remixes. The duo gained notoriety remixing tracks from Phoenix, Holy Ghost, Active Child, Lana Del Rey and Groove Armada. It wasn’t until one year ago in May that Classixx released their first official album, Hanging Gardens, on innovative Leisure. The album flows organically from begining to end, perfect for a day time disco party or even for getting a little weird after dark.
With the release of their first full length album, Classixx has had a big year. They’ve toured performing at hundreds of shows including SXSW where I caught them spin a sick set at the Empire. They are also on the 2014 Coachella ticket and their weekend one show was dance and awe-worthy bringing out special guest Nancy Whang. These guys spin music so fluid you’ll find yourself creating new steps to improve on your fancy footwork. The vibes at their shows are notoriously chill creating an atmosphere conducive to grin-earning good time.
Catch Classixx tonight at Bang Bang before they head back to Coachella for weekend two!
The perfect sound for skipping through a farmers market while drinking a freshly blended strawberry pineapple smoothie or for spending an entire day completely submersed in nature. Bombay Bicycle Club was formed in 2006 in London by a group of students who have inched their way into popularity over the last eight years. So Long, See You Tomorrow released on Island Records earlier this year and is the fourth studio album from Bombay Bicycle Club reaching the top of both UK and US charts–the first of their work to accomplish this.
Through time, the sound of Bombay Bicycle Club has evolved and become rich with complexity. The band can feel tropical, worldly, indie, electronic or like an 80s synthpop with thickly layered sounds. It could easily be described as the offspring of the Arctic Monkeys and St. Lucia based on their style and sound alone. The dreamy waves of synth melodies wash in and out of every track with a steady blipping electronic bassline and long low vocals with backups to create an echoey surround-sound. There’s plenty of beat making it accessible to the average listener without taking heads too high into the sky in either the electronic or atmospheric direction. The foundation of the sound is indie rock and the twists and turns are what make it unique.
Bombay Bicycle Club performs at Coachella this year and will be making a stop in San Diego tonight between performances. See them at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach tonight!