As the calendar turns to March and Daylight Savings approaches, winter has grasped much of the country in one last freeze. Many of us spent the week in the warmth of cozy, fireside listens.
Bird Courage – Maia Manu
Bird Courage doesn’t break any boundaries with Maia Manu, but I didn’t need it to be anything other than light and heartfelt. After the first few notes of “Stone,” I knew it was just what I needed. Put this album on while you soak up coffee and sunlight Sunday morning or during the unwinding hour after a long day of work. I think you will appreciate what you find. -Jeremy
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
So it’s finally the week of February 25th, something I’ve been waiting for for months. Why? Because St. Vincent’s new album was released this week. She’s my favourite artist. I was really patient and didn’t listen to the album when it leaked, and I didn’t listen to the album when it was streaming. I wanted to wait until the release date. But, then life happened. Last weekend my heart was broken. I didn’t want to listen to music of any kind. I definitely didn’t want to listen to the new album, because I feel like if I did I may forever associate the album with this feeling. So I still haven’t heard it.
I often find that my mood dictates what I listen to. This week my soul needed comforting, and I found that Bon Iver was exactly what I needed. I listened to the last two Bon Iver albums a lot, but there’s one song in particular that I listened to more than any other. Bon Iver – “Beth/Rest (Rare Book Room)”. To be honest, I never really connected with Bon Iver before. Maybe I needed to feel a greater sense of loss in order to really get it. I get it now. -Christine
Fumihito Sugawara & Claude Nine – 35mm
Not everyone wants to sit down to a Martini, but I imagine carrying around a metal briefcase full of chill would be pretty satisfying. For me Fumihito Sugawara & Claude Nine’s album, 35mm, invites you to do just that. This album is tastefully retro while avoiding pretentiousness. As you listen, it may feel like you’ve been here before, that Bossa Nova can only be re-imagined so many ways. But, as you recline into each track with a room full of friends, it feels comfortable and inviting. 35mm is a soundtrack for your evening. Allow yourself the pleasure of getting close to someone else, where casual touch in playful conversation accents the sound of ice falling into your glass. -Rocky
Holly Herndon – Chorus EP
Until the opener for the St. Vincent show in NYC was announced recently, I hadn’t heard of Holly Herndon. The Bloops & Bleeps Hobos may already be familiar with her stuff, but her sounds were new to my ears. I managed to find just a few of her pieces on line to prepare for her live set, but even so, I don’t think the streaming stuff does her performance justice. The show I caught occurred at Terminal 5, a venue notorious for its sound issues, yet Herndon managed to make the sound setup seem like it was engineered specifically for her tunes. She works primarily from a laptop, and manipulates her voice through a mic over pulsating, throbbing beats. I imagined the crowd wouldn’t have much patience for this kind of music, lacking in distinct lyrics, but Herndon’s still presence coupled with some excellent lighting set the mood perfectly for what was to come with St. Vincent’s amazing show. Herndon’s set left me wanting more, and I look forward to digging in deeper. I highly recommend listening to these through some good headphones. -Qbertplaya
Check out her new single “Chorus” from her EP bearing the same name: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHujh3yA3BE
Her 2012 EP titled Movement is on Soundcloud:
Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell – Hawk
A few days ago, my hard drive crashed, taking most of the music I’ve accumulated over the past 3-4 years with it. The silver lining of this horrible event is that it’s nudged me to revisit some older records that I haven’t listened to in awhile. One such record is Hawk, the third record from Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell. Combining a dulcet female voice with a gravelly baritone is an idea with a lengthy history (see also: Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra, Nick Cave/Kylie Minogue)but that doesn’t make it any less potent. Hawk is a dusty snapshot of sturdy, old-fashioned American that stays on the right side of the thin line between classic and cliche, and I’ve had it on repeat all week. – Ramona
patten – ESTOILE NAIANT
British electronic artist patten doesn’t give away his real name or any press pictures. He wants the listeners to focus on the music itself, as he said. (He does interviews.) And they will have to focus – patten is layering multiple beat structures, vocal scraps and synths, and the result is one experimental mess of a sophomore album that doesn’t have to hide from Warp label mates Aphex Twin, Oneohetrix Point Never or like-minded music nerds anywhere. His website is worth a visit, too. -Henje
Say Lou Lou – Julian
I’ve been enjoying Say Lou Lou this week. I don’t know much about these ladies, other than they are twin sisters making dreamy indie pop. A debut album is due later this year. -Dave C.
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
There’s no sound in music so simultaneously joyous, sinister, playful, and aggressive as an Annie Clark guitar riff. Another St. Vincent album, another album of the year contender. -Jeff