Tag Archives: José González

From the Basement TV: Radiohead, et al.

In addition to Black Cab Sessions, Take-Away Shows, and Handheld Shows, there’s a new kid in town trading in a little bit of those projects’ charms for more polish.

From the Basement filmed some of your favorite bands in a studio with no introduction and no audience. The clean-looking video can be seen in clip-form on the site or at the YouTube channel, and some of the full-song performances can be purchase on iTunes (just search From the Basement in the iTunes store). Some people, of course, have put some of the full videos (particularly the Radiohead) up on YouTube.

Radiohead recorded ten songs with From the Basement TV, including songs from In Rainbows. Songs include: Bodysnatchers, House of Cards, Nude, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, 15 Step, Reckoner, Go Slowly, Videotape, Bangers ‘n’ Mash, and All I Need.

According to the band, “Captured in a day, with direction by David Barnard and sound by [Radiohead’s buddy] Nigel Godrich, the videos represent the best recorded representation of Radiohead’s live performance to date.” And if Radiohead makes that sort of sweeping statement, it must be stinkin’ great.

Other performers so far are: Thom Yorke, Albert Hammond Jr., Envelopes, The White Stripes, The Shins, Neil Hannon, Beck, Jarvis Cocker, Jamie Lidell, Sonic Youth, José Gonzaléz, Laura Marling, PJ Harvey, Super Furry Animals, Free Blood, Operator Please, Damien Rice, The Eels, Autolux, and Architecture in Helsinki.

Bonus, unrelated link: Download mp3s of Radiohead’s April Fools’ Day Show courtesy of Alan at Sixeyes (who appreciates if you leave comments and click on ads in return for his generosity).

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Iron and Wine at Bonnaroo 2008

I really like Iron and Wine. I have loved the direction in which they’ve grown, fleshing out their sound and increasingly embracing grooviness. Woman King was my favorite until The Shepherd’s Dog, and there’s nothing more exciting than knowing one of your favorite active bands is cranking out ever-better discs [buy them!].

A lovely little review exultingly examines the change in Beam’s sound:

“Basically a one-man band until this release, Beam left his four-track machine behind in his bedroom and expanded his music to include polyrhythmic textures, percussive flourishes, and multicultural influences. Nothing too radical here, but if you’re familiar with the hushed intimacy of his earlier work, it’s significant.”

The author likens Iron and Wine’s shift to the change in Paul Simon’s career ushered in by Graceland. The comparison is too forced, but the article is endearing nonetheless. I mean, what (beyond over-exuberance) can be faulted in sentences such as this: “At its best, Iron & Wine’s music feels magically haunted like a Southern Gothic musicbox found in an attic that chimes intimate secrets into your ear.”

Now that I’ve established I’m a fan, I can safely say I hated seeing Iron and Wine live at Bonnaroo. They sounded good, all eight musicians. Sam was crooning, she was harmonizing and plucking her violin strings, the xylophone was hyping the beat, the trap set and auxiliary percussion balanced their contributions perfectly, et cetera, et cetera, as Yul Brynner pontificated. They even jammed out the riffs, as is appropriate for Bonnaroo.

But it was uninspiring. When I see a band live, I need the lead singer to acknowledge the audience exists. Make eye contact just once. Crack a smile or a joke better than the bitchy:

“Last time we were here, you guys danced like crazy when we played fast and shut the hell up when we played a quiet one,” Mr. Beam said from the stage after a few songs. “Are you going to do that again?” [from this lame NYTimes review]

It’s a festival, dudes; at least look up from your perfectionism and try to have a good time once in a while. Us audience members want to have a good time or at least be transfixed as we were for the similarly contemplative set by José González. Instead, I and my compatriots felt alienated and fidgety. In fact, two-thirds of us voted with our feet and left our primo spot center stage to catch Little Feat or Ben Folds.

I was seriously considering traveling four hours each way to see Iron and Wine earlier in the year. I’m glad now I didn’t spend the ticket and gas money. I love live music more than most things in life, but for this band I will be henceforth content to hear the songs, in all their brilliance, on disc or (for the live jams) online. If that appeals to  you, check this MPR show or the umpteen downloadble concerts.

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Commercials’ Music

I like the song I heard for the Nike Sparq Training commercial. It’s Saul Williams’ List of Demands.

I also like the song in the parkour/soccer FIFA Street 3 commercial that VSL turned me onto. The track, La Pelota, feat. Alejandro Londono, is made by some ad agency music production company (Massive Music).

The two are similar. Not worth buying a disc, but worth a listen or a download.

Viral commercials launched both José González (Sony Bravia ad) and Hem (Liberty Mutual ad) for me, so don’t knock it. I don’t even want to get in to the iPod star-maker ads (’cause other people already have, ad nauseum).

Oh, and file the Meat Loaf/Tiffany pairing in this GoPhone commercial under random. I get a kick out of it, actually.

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Bonnaroo Muxtape

To check out the Muxtape phenomenon, where anyone can upload up to twelve songs for the listening enjoyment of the cyberworld at large, I made a mix of songs by artists who will be performing at Bonnaroo Music Festival. See the complete list of bands from which I chose here.

Listen to the Stella Splice Bonnaroo Muxtape

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Nobody’s Baby 2:28 100 Days, 100 Nights 2007
Little Feat – That’s A Pretty Good Love 4:49 Ain’t Had Enough Fun 1995
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Rich Woman 4:05 Raising Sand 2007
Levon Helm – False Hearted Lover Blues 3:30 Dirt Farmer 2007
Drive-By Truckers – Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife 3:06 Brighter Than Creation’s Dark 2008
My Morning Jacket – Golden 4:58 12.1.06 @ the electric factory, philadelphia 2006
The Swell Season – Into the Mystic (Van Morrison cover) 5:05 NPR 2007
Jack Johnson – Rodeo Clowns 2:52 Live From Bonnaroo 2002
Rogue Wave – Lake Michigan 3:48 Asleep at Heaven’s Gate 2007
Iron and Wine – White Tooth Man 3:57 The Shepard’s Dog 2007
José González – Down the Line 3:11 In Our Nature 2007
CRS (Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West, Pharrell) – Us Placers 3:54 2007

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Favorite Albums of 2007

I am so incensed by the exclusion of Into the Wild’s soundtrack from year-end lists, I am creating a 2007 best albums list. Everyone else thinks they’re righting the world’s wrongs, too, but so be it.

stellasplice’s favorite albums of 2007:

Boxer ~ The National
MySpace Site Buy

Music for the Motion Picture Into the Wild ~ Eddie Vedder
Buy and Listen

The Shepherd’s Dog ~ Iron & Wine
MySpace Site Buy

Because of the Times ~ Kings of Leon
MySpace Site Buy

Marry Me ~ St. Vincent
MySpace Site Buy

Glory Hope Mountain ~ The Acorn
MySpace Site Buy

Buckle in the Bible Belt ~ Ha Ha Tonka
MySpace Site Buy 

Oh, My Darling ~ Basia Bulat
MySpace Site Buy

Music for the Motion Picture Once ~ Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard
MySpace Site Buy

Rust Belt Blues ~ Oliver Buck
MySpace Site Buy

The Stage Names ~ Okkervil River
MySpace Site Buy

These two were quite good, but I unfairly wanted them to be Wolf Parade and The Shins, respectively, so I never could fall for them wholeheartedly:
Random Spirit Lover ~ Sunset Rubdown
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? ~ Of Montreal (though it is my fav. Of Montreal disc)

I love the following artists. However good their 2007 discs may have been, they did not measure up to the artists’ previous releases, so they have been relegated to addendum status:
The White Stripes
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
José González
Spoon
The New Pornographers
Beirut (he swallowed up Alaska in Winter, too)
Modest Mouse
The Shins
Elliott Smith
The Polyphonic Spree

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