Friday, April 24, 2009

Heroes in a Half Shell

Without a doubt the most enjoyable show I've been to this year.  Trampled by Turtles are a bluegrass/folk band made up of musicians who are so technically spectacular with their instruments they seem to challenge themselves to play faster and faster and faster until your feet tire from dancing and your legs ache from jumping.  The experience is a precise frenzy of banjo, ukulele, fiddle, two guitars and vocals that are all so quick yet so coordinated you can't help but move your feet.  They do slow it down a bit on occassion, but the full sound always has that upbeat, exuberant spirit.  I had only heard their music live until I bought the CD last night to share with you wonderful people.  Of course the energy of seeing their fingers fly around the strings can't make it to the CD, but the tracks are just as vibrant with many gems including two of my favorites White Noise and Truck.  This music is feel good music; so throw it on and dance your way down the street.

Enjoy "Duluth" by Trampled by Turtles

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bite Sized Bon Iver & Fleet Foxes

EPs are to albums as rebounds are to girlfriends - they are an opportunity for bands to cleanse themselves and begin anew. Unfortunately, as rebounds they are often also impulsive, confused, and shortlived - necessary detours that we'd all rather forget about.

Case in point: "Woods" off of Bon Iver's Blood Bank EP, which is solely Justin Vernon HARMONIZING IN AUTOTUNE. Like T-Pain "buy you a drank" autotune. A potentially career-killing idea if ever there was one. And though I won't be able to convince you if the move was startlingly brave or heartstoppingly retarded (I go with brave), there's no questioning that, far from a detour, the four tracks that make up Blood Bank are completely essential listening for any Bon Iver fan. Which should be all of you. Here's the title track, which is as good as anything off of "For Emma":


Ditto for "Sun Giant", the Fleet Foxes EP released only months after their how-is-this-so-perfect debut. The crazy part is, pound for pound, "Sun Giant" is actually an even better album than 2008's album of the year, which I didn't really believe was possible. Let me prove it to you with one track, "Mykonos", a lovechild of Queen and Neil Young that makes fireworks explode in my head: