Sometime around 3PM yesterday, a friend and I made the decision to throw down a not insubstantial sum to see Band of Horses perform a “special acoustic set” at Carnegie Hall. It may have been the best deal I’ve ever got. To see one of my favorite bands play at the hallowed venue was an experience I won’t soon forget. The band played stripped down versions of songs from both of their studio LPs and several new tracks that sounded fantastic. Ben Bridwell’s vocals soared and filled the voluminous hall, perhaps exemplified on my now-favorite song of the moment: “Monsters.” When Bridwell belted out the last refrain “If I am lost/It’s only for a little while” in successively more passionate wails, I geeked out to the max. Damn I wish I could do it all over again. Look forward to seeing them in town again soon.

Blitzen Trapper

November 3, 2008

blitzen-trapperSo there’s another Sub Pop band from the Pacific Northwest people are talking about these days: Portland’s Blitzen Trapper. While their regional and label affiliations might invite comparisons to Sub Pop mates Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses, Blitzen Trapper replaces the soaring harmonies of the former and the indie rock leanings of the latter with 70s inspired classic rock (one song reminds me of fucking Kansas, for better or worse).

“Furr,” the title track from their fourth album, is a beautiful song. I must have listened to it five times today walking to and from work. The album itself is the type that you should listen to before tubing down the James River, or while driving down some back roads in Crozet.

Check out “Furr” HERE. (Some douche disabled the YouTube thingy).

I’ve written in the past about all the great free music NYC has to offer and this past Friday was yet another prime example. To start the night, my buddy Kure—from We Kure Burns fame—and I caught Grand Archives’ set at the South Street Seaport. For those unfamiliar, Grand Archives is a Seattle-based band started by Mat Brooke, formerly of Band of Horses, and signed to Sub Pop. Though not wholly unlike his former band, Brooke’s new outfit places a greater emphasis on vocal harmonies and leans more towards pop-rock than alt-country. On Friday, the tunes, primarily drawn from Grand Archives’ self-titled debut, were the perfect accompaniment to the backdrop of the Seaport. There are few places I’d rather see a show on a chill Friday evening. Check out the video for “Miniature Birds” below. The llamas are sweet, but the little kid kinda creeps me out.

After Grand Archives finished up, we hustled out to Brooklyn to see Professor Murder play for free at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. I had seen Professor Murder once before when they opened up for Matt and Kim at the Bowery and have wanted to see them again ever since. The scene at the Music Hall couldn’t have been more different than that at the Seaport. A cool breeze and blissfully spaced out heads were traded for a thumping bassline and hipsters abiding by an implied dress code. After mediocre sets by Pink Skull and Free Blood, Professor Murder (three excellent names by the way), set it off with their electronic post-punk. When I think of P-Murder, I think percussion out the ass with a healthy dose of cowbell. If you don’t feel like moving, you’re comatose. When they launched into “Free Stress Test,” kids started bouncing of the walls. I’ve included the best video of the song I could find below. Overall it was a great night of music and all I paid for was Budweiser.

“Miniature Birds”

“Free Stress Test”

Headed to the park to play wiffle ball. In that spirit:

Summer isn’t quite here, but Fleet Foxes have already arrived. The perfect soundtrack for that low-key Saturday in the park, the Seattle-based band’s debut EP Sun Giant has an idyllic feel that instantly puts the listener at ease. I’m sure I’m already the thousandth person to compare them to My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses, but I also hear some 60s psychadelic influences.

Regardless, get to know these guys before you see them on the next Ford Focus commercial. Check out this live version of “Mykonos,” the fourth of Sun Giant‘s five tracks. Wish I could afford to skip work, chill by the water and listen to this on repeat: