I have been a faithful disciple of the Band Evangelist for over half a decade and have him to thank for my introduction to and increased appreciation of Andrew Bird, Band of Horses, Lou Barlow, The Birthday Party, Department of Eagles, Jeremy Enigk (sans SDRE), Frightened Rabbit, The Kinks, Lift to Experience, Neutral Milk Hotel and Teenage Fanclub.
As a disciple I’d like to spread the gospel of some upcoming releases myself (hopefully we can count on apostolic succession):
- Interpol Interpol (7 Sept) – Their first record since 2007’s Our Love to Admire. It has potential…
- Sleep Forever Crocodiles (14 Sept) – Last year’s Summer of Hate wasn’t my favourite record, but I always have high hopes for noisy/shoegazey music.
- Tidelands Moondoggies (14 Sept) – Seattle-based folk rock band Moondoggies’ new release should prove fun.
- The Trip Lætitia Sadier (21 Sept) – Sadier, lead singer of Stereolab, appeared on Atlas Sound’s excellent record Logos last year, singing the lead beautifully on ‘Quick Canal’.
- Halcyon Digest Deerhunter (28 Sept) – Deerhunter, who was evangelised to me by Annette, is an excellent and innovative group fronted by Bradford Cox (Atlas Sound). Their last record, 2008’s Microcastle, was one of my favourites from that year.
- Belle and Sebastian Write About Love Belle & Sebastian (11 Oct) – I had the opportunity to hear the band share two songs from this record a couple of weeks ago in Glasgow. Incredibly catchy and beautiful – they are still stuck in my head. This will likely be in my top ten of 2010.
- The Age of Adz Sufjan Stevens (12 Oct) – This will be Sufjan’s first LP in over five years! He wetted our appetites with last week’s release of the All Delighted People EP and The National have helped been a part of recording this new one. I except good great things. Could he take the number one slot of the Best of 2010?
Preview the new Sufjan Stevens track, ‘I Walked’, here:
As for music thus far this year (in addition to the Band Evangelist’s list), if you haven’t heard the following, I suggest you do:
- The Suburbs Arcade Fire
- King of the Beach Wavves
- This Is Happening LCD Soundsystem
- Crystal Castles (II) Crystal Castles
- Teen Dream Beach House
- Crazy For You Best Coast
- Looks Like a Flood, Feels Like a Drought Preacher’s Sons
- Hidden These New Puritans
- Boys Outside Steve Mason (singer of the now-defunct Beta Band)
- I Heart California Admiral Radley (featuring the singer and drummer of the now-defunct Grandaddy)
- Daughters Daughters
Musical blessings unto thee.
The other day my friend Erin Hennessy saw you on the F train in NYC, but she couldn’t get up the nerve to say anything to you. That got me thinking of what I would say to you if I ran into you (even though I never would, as I live on the other side of the country). The first thing that came to mind was to talk to you about your 50 states project, which you began so beautifully with Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State and Illinois/The Avalanche.
Now back in the day (the early two thousands or so), I took your proclamation to make an album (or EP, maybe?) for each one of the 50 states seriously, even though some of my more cynical friends would mock me saying it was impossible for you to do in your lifetime (they would start with some calculations, ask your age, etc. PS We share the same birthday!). The reason I believed you was because I saw this limitless sort of creative genius in you, and even beyond that, it was as if you were the Emersonian “Poet” for this generation of Americans–seeing and showing us the beauty and agony and the divine in the everyday, transforming the mundane into the sublime, telling us stories full of wonder and longing and brilliant details from towns like Ypsilanti and Holland and Romulus.
You made me suddenly attentive to the people and places of America: you imbued them with a magical luster simply by naming them in the midst of your deeply moving, melancholic, and rich melodies and arrangements, or by inserting them amongst such evocative mystical lines of verse:
When the revenant came down
We couldn’t imagine what it was
In the spirit of three stars
The alien thing that took its form
Then to Lebanon, oh God!
The flashing at night, the sirens grow and grow
(Oh, history involved itself)
Mysterious shade that took its form
(Or what it was!), incarnation, three stars
Delivering signs and dusting from their eyes
-“Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois”
All that to say that I really, really wish the 50 states project would continue–I think it could become one of the national treasures of our country for centuries to come, a Leaves of Grass for the 21st century that American kids would listen to to understand where they’ve come from and what kind of people we are. I heard at one point that you said the 50 states project was “such a joke,” but I would challenge you in earnest, if only for the sake of those future little kids, to reconsider abandoning this momentous endeavor.
Realizing that it might very well be impossible for you to write and record all of the albums yourself, what if you instead became the director of the project–you have set the standard quite high with your first two albums–and with the profound respect you have from your artistic peers, I honestly believe you could rally together the best artists from each state to collaborate with to make this happen, creating a kind of ark of American culture.
Here are some suggestions to begin with (I admit some may be wishful thinking) & I call on any reader to add to/better the selection of songwriters for any state (I have put brackets around bands with whom I have only a cursory familiarity & some states I have absolutely no idea about):
- Alabama = The Snake the Cross the Crown
- Alaska = Portugal The Man
- Arizona = Calexico
- Arkansas = ???
- California = Elijah Wade Smith, Beck, Stephen Malkmus
- Colorado = DeVotchKa, The Apples in Stereo
- Connecticut = Rivers Cuomo?
- Delaware = The Spinto Band
- Florida = Iron & Wine, Aaron Marsh
- Georgia = Deerhunter, Of Montreal, Bill Mallonee
- Hawaii = Mason Jennings
- Idaho = Built to Spill, Finn Riggins
- Illinois = Sufjan Stevens
- Indiana = Mock Orange
- Iowa = Caleb Engstrom
- Kansas = Drakkar Sauna, Mates of State, The New Amsterdams, The Appleseed Cast
- Kentucky = Bonnie “Prince” Billy, My Morning Jacket
- Louisiana = Jeff Mangum, Mutemath
- Maine = [Phantom Buffalo]
- Maryland = John Vanderslice, Wye Oak
- Massachusetts = Lou Barlow, Winterpills
- Michigan = Sufjan Stevens
- Minnesota = Low, Cloud Cult, Lucky Wilbur
- Mississippi = ???
- Missouri = [Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin]
- Montana = Colin Meloy
- Nebraska = Cursive, Bright Eyes
- Nevada = The Killers?
- New Hampshire = [Wild Light]
- New Jersey = Sufjan Stevens (?), Danielson, Yo La Tango
- New Mexico = The Shins, Beirut
- New York = The Magnetic Fields, Sonic Youth, Interpol, The Walkmen
- North Carolina = The Mountain Goats
- North Dakota = [The White Foliage]
- Ohio = Robert Pollard, Over the Rhine, The National, Mark Kozelek
- Oklahoma = The Flaming Lips, Kings of Leon
- Oregon = Laura Veirs, M. Ward, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, The Decemberists
- Pennsylvania = The Innocence Mission, Denison Witmer, Matt Pond PA
- Rhode Island = The Low Anthem, Death Vessel
- South Carolina = Band of Horses
- South Dakota = Haley Bonar
- Tennessee = Derek Webb
- Texas = Josh T. Pearson, Ramesh Srivastava (formerly of Voxtrot), The Polyphonic Spree, Okkervil River, Devendra Banhart
- Utah = [Joshua James]
- Vermont = Anais Mitchell
- Virginia = Thao Nguyen, Hush Arbors
- Washington = David Bazan, Damien Jurado, Jeremy Enigk, Fleet Foxes
- West Virginia = ???
- Wisconsin = Bon Iver, Marla Hansen
- Wyoming = ???
With the deepest respect & admiration,
One of my greatest secret interests is the music video. I would tend to shy away from such an admission in light of the sheer wretchedness of what we often see on MTV, VH1, or countless other music television stations that have arisen over the years. Music videos have become so uninspired, oftentimes more interested in conveying an image that builds up the artist as a superhero, a martyr, or a sex icon. And when a video does employ any sort of storytelling, it is all-too-often meaningless, narcissistic, and void of any substance.
I always keep my eyes open for the artist who can capture a profound image, a profound concept, and a profound sound. I am obsessed with engaging art in exhaustive ways (using as many senses as possible, and let’s consider the mind a sense for the time being), and it wasn’t until recently that I realized some of my favorite recent music videos have been directed by one person. I’m talking about music videos that make you fall more in love with the sound because of what the images and ideas passed to you though the music video medium enrich the individual song with, enhancing your experience.
Even if you’ve not heard of Patrick Daughters it is possible that you have seen one of his very uniquely styled and directed music videos. Some of my favorites are below. Please enjoy.