December 05, 2012

The Best Live Shows of 2012

I went to more concerts in 2012 than in any year before. I attended a show on average every 11 days and had a hell of a lot of fun in the process. I saw acts ranging from Andy Grammer to Tech N9ne to Bassnectar in venues from The Gorge in Washington to Vega Music Hall in Denmark. I saw some of the best shows of my life. Here are my favorites. 

Bon Iver (Sasquatch Music Festival)
This show, Bon Iver's headlining spot at The Gorge, and my first time seeing the group live, changed how I see live music. The level to which the enormous band built upon the already beautiful songs was unparalleled. From the opening notes of "Perth" to the last chord of "For Emma," the entire crowd was completely enveloped in the music. Mr. Vernon's words were genuine, proclaiming his awe at the loving crowd and jaw-dropping landscape. I cannot imagine a better show. 

Glen Hansard (Le Poisson Rouge, NY)
After being a fan for years, this summer I finally caught up with Hansard's travels in New York. Instead of attending his show at the Beacon Theater, I was lucky enough to opt for the intimate 3-hour warm up the previous night. The night felt more like a casual jam session as the Irishman invited Lisa Hannigan, John Smith, K'naan, and some new friends from the audience to join him for select cuts. A barrage of delightful covers and relaxed banter helped every audience member feel like a VIP.

Delta Spirit (Paradise Rock Club, Boston)
Delta Spirit is gritty. Their brand of rock isn't clean cut and prides itself on being awesomely messy. They got wild on stage and put on the best rock show I've seen in a while. The show was timed nicely at the peak of my excitement about their brilliant new album, and they proved that their new sound worked even better live.
Read the original review here

The Lumineers (Cafe 939, Boston)
I got really lucky on this one. The tour that took The Lumineers to the intimate Cafe 939 was booked long before they blew up. The young group got the crowd stomping their feet in no time with their lively brand of folk rock. I had as much fun at this show as any before despite the fact that I was there by myself. On their next visit to Boston, they will be playing a venue 12 times as big: House of Blues.
Read the original review here

Death Cab with Magik*Magik Orchestra (Wang Theatre, Boston)
You know you've been to a great show if the performance makes you a bigger fan than you were before. When I caught Death Cab For Cutie performing with an eight person string orchestra, that is exactly what happened. The strings were arranged tastefully and while they didn't take a leading role, they enhanced every song and took the performance to a new level. Only their most recent album was recorded with the strings but even their old tracks received an added punch from their presence.

Delta Rae (Bowery Ballroom, NY)
When I heard Delta Rae's debut album, I had no idea they had four amazing singers. The voices sounded similar enough that I wrote them off as having two vocalists. But when I witnessed them live their four-part harmonies took my breath away and each member held their own as they traded off lead duties. Just plain awesome.
Read original review here

Purity Ring (Le Poisson Rouge, NY)
It is rare that I attend a show that is like no other I have been to. Purity Ring's album release show in NYC was one of those nights. They performed in the round, on a circular stage in the middle of the venue. Hanging all over the place were colored orbs that pulsated to the beat of the music. Instead of just playing their music, the duo grabbed the audience and dragged them in.
Read original review here

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark)
On this list two years in a row, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are definitely some of the most consistently brilliant performers in hip-hop today. I have now seen them four times in a variety of settings and they never fail to get the crowd going. Now with a complete album to perform, they have more ways than ever to work the audience. These guys always give 110% and are more dedicated than any other act I know. Luckily, they tour like crazy so you will probably have a chance to catch them soon.

December 03, 2012

Remixers Of The Year: Adventure Club

This year, not surprisingly, was rife with remixes. And with the end of the year comes awards. So for the first time, along with our typical year-end lists, we include this award for Remixers of the Year. The Canadian duo Adventure Club blew up this year and produced the finest remixes out there for artists ranging from Thrice to Foxes while maintaining their trademark laidback dubstep sound. Their wobble enhances songs' low end punch as opposed to destroying it.

They were brought to my attention when they took James Vincent McMorrow's "We Don't Eat" to a whole new level while maintaining the singer's astounding voice and place at the forefront of the track. Since then, they have perfected their art and will continue to melt faces (in the mellowest way possible) for years to come. The best part? All their tracks are free.

Foxes - Youth (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)
Thrice - Broken Lungs (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)
Lullabies - Yuna (Adventure Club Remix)
James Vincent McMorrow - We Don't Eat (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)

November 29, 2012

Interview with Infantree

Infantree, an indie rock group from Southern California, just released their second studio album, Hero's Dose, to great reception and praise. Not only are these four guys the nicest crew around, their sound together is just so entrancing, with poetic lyrics, beautiful harmonies, and excellent musicianship by all members. The band has since then toured with Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and will continue promote their new album at shows in Los Angeles the rest of this year.

(From left) Donald, Matt, Jordan, and Alex of Infantree at Outside Lands
We were lucky enough to kick back with the band after their awesome set at Outside Lands, where we chatted about their new album, embarassing moments, how they got their name, and more! Read below to see what these four killer musicians had to say, and while you're at it, listen to the soothing sounds and lovely harmonies in one of my favorite Infantree tunes, "Forgive Me First." Also, click "read more"  to see Infantree on Conan performing "Fibber"!

Infantree - "Forgive Me First"
Your second album was just put out a couple months ago, how do you feel the reception has been so far?

Alex: Pretty awesome, definitely better than the first one!

Donald: That’s all you can hope for.

Alex: We’ve been getting a kick out of it, for sure.

Matt: Yeah, we’ve been getting a lot more college radio play.

Do you approach festival playing any differently than small, intimate settings?

Alex: Oh heck yeah, definitely. We secretly hate the sound at festivals [laughs]. It’s never as full as a small room, because the sound just goes, there’s no walls. A lot of times, especially because festivals are fewer and far between, we’re not used to that sound once we get there, so we kind of have to acclimate as we go. We don’t have a sound guy, so we just kind of do it. But it’s been fun. The main thing is that if people are there or not. And luckily, at festivals, people show up, or at least that’s been happening now.

Donald: Yeah, and it’s tougher when you have the first slot. So the fact that as many people showed up today was great.

Jordan: I feel like I try to keep the beat simpler at festivals, cause the little things kind of get lost. It’s just a different sound.

November 28, 2012

New Music Wrap-Up: November

November by the numbers:

New songs added to my library: 332

Most listened to track:  Mikky Ekko-"Pull Me Down"

Best albums added:

Crystal Castles - III

P.O.S. - We Don't Even Live Here

The Staves - Dead and Born and Grown

Stuck In My Head All Month:  Rihanna-"Diamond Remix feat. Kanye West"

Best Remix: Eva Simmons-"Renegade (James Egbert Remix)"

Catchiest Danish Song Added: Shaka Loveless-"Tomgang"

November 26, 2012

If You Like: Purity Ring, Twin Shadow, Grimes

Take Purity Ring's vocal-chopping, add some lush, bright synths, and some fat horn stabs and you've got . The Danish singer is the latest songstress to earn comparison to Grimes, and pretty much every other Scandinavian synth-lover too. But her track "Pilgrim" is awfully catchy, and harder hitting than most. It sounds expansive, loungey, and like a lot of fun. Check it out!


November 22, 2012


For the past few months I have been in Denmark, the wonderfully small Scandinavian country that exports some great sad, cold, sparse music (see Broken Twin). But the Danes know how to party too. That's where Koldpik comes in. The young Moombahton DJ has been hitting the Copenhagen scene hard with his mixes of Moomba, disco, and all-around funky beats. Check out his latest Nu Moombah mix and keep an eye out for him at a party near you. 

Koldpik on SoundCloud

November 20, 2012

Kenna - "Long Gone"

If You Like: Kele, Theophilus London, School of Seven Bells

While you may not have heard of Kenna, he was actually nominated for a Grammy in 2009 before falling out of the news for a few years. He has been featured in quite a few projects, yet has eluded the mainstream. Until now. His latest single, "Long Gone," brings to mind Kele Okereke's solo album and Theophilus London's classy swag. The video, a black and white self-proclaimed Alfred Hitchcock-like film, reinforces the song's somber, yet meditative tone. Check out the video below and let yourself get sucked in.