iron and wine at the beacon

i’ve seen iron and wine (seam beam) pretty much every time he’s come through new york since 2005. his latest show was at the beacon theatre on the upper west side, which i had never been to and was excited to check out. cool place and still small enough that we had a good view from the first mezzanine. touring with sam beam was his new band, a 13 piece filled with backup singers, a horn and string section, a piano/organ player, among others. i’ve always preferred the more lofi sam beam (a la ‘our endless numbered days’ and ‘the creek drank the cradle’ style), but the songs with the full band were good; about half were new and half were reworkings of his older songs. the highlight of the evening, however, was when sam came out and played by himself. the crowd shouted out requests and he ended up playing about half a dozen songs. he’s actually quite a funny guy, joking at himself about needing to practice more when he played the wrong chord (which happened a few times and was actually quite endearing).

i’ve always loved ‘upward over the mountain’ and the version he played at the beacon was amazing – its crazy how full the sound felt with just one person playing.  perusing youtube, i was able to find a video of the performance — and though it doesn’t really do justice to how good it actually was — its still a nice flavor of the wonderfulness of sam beam.  check it out below.

jim james live at sxsw

after watching an hour long storytellers with death cab for cutie tonight on palladia, i was just about to turn off the tv and head to bed when i heard jim james (solo project from the my morning jacket frontman) performing on stage. surprisingly, i don’t have this album… but after watching the performance, i definitely need to pick it up this weekend. this song (“a new life”) is pretty awesome, and even thought i wasn’t able to find the professional-looking video that was playing on palladia, i did stumble upon this not so bad video from the audience.  watch the video all the way to the end – its definitely worth it to see james dancing around on stage

phoenix plays the barclays center

even though its about half a year away (literally!), i was super excited to get tix this morning to see phoenix at the barclays center in october. hopefully their new album, bankrupt, which includes 71 bonus tracks, will be as dancy fun as wolfgang amadeus phoenix, their last release from 2009. bankrupt will hit stores later this month.

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coachella lineup 2013

i think i may need to hit up coachella this year – the lineup looks pretty sound.  and did you hear the postal service got back together?  its hard to believe its been 10 years since ‘give up’ came out – makes me feel old.  but its yet another reason (besides vampire weekend, modest mouse, passion pit, band of horses, of monsters and men, the lumineers, beach house, tame impala…) to perhaps trek out to california in april for some music festival fun.  lets just hope tickets don’t sell out before i decide if I’m going, which seems to happen every year.  it is nice, however, that they decided to do it two weekend this year (same lineup), so you can pick which one works best.  hmm….i think i need to go check out flights.

coachella lineup

the lumineers // mumford & sons for christmas (times 2!)

while driving around christmas shopping in colorado, my mom and i kept hearing the lumineers and mumford & sons on the radio.  colorado has much better radio stations than new york, so it was refreshing to hear something that didn’t sound like r&b or club music.

i wanted to surprise my mom with both albums for christmas, and as i was opening my presents that day, i realized she had the same exact idea…we both ended up getting each other the albums, vinyls for me and cd’s for my mom.  it was a funny coincidence and now when i hear any of the songs from these two bands, i’ll aways think about the fun time we had running around together and buying presents.

if you haven’t heard the lumineers self-titled album, definitely check it out.  its folky, fresh, and catchy (in just the right way).  they remind me of band of horses mixed with ryan adams.  its also nice to hear a band that is based in denver.

mumford & sons is similar, but has a fuller sound and features a banjo in some of their songs which is pretty distinctive.  i was surprised to hear that they’re from england since they have such an americana-type sound.

their video below is especially cool since its filmed at red rocks.

vinyl shopping: passion pit – gossamer

i’ve always liked passion pit – never enough to buy an album, but enough to enjoy their tunes if they happened to be playing.  they were another band that played at osheaga (yes, the lineup was amazing) and i knew i needed to buy their newest album, gossamer, after really enjoying their performance.

the album starts off with “take a walk” which has has an intensely catchy chorus; you’ve probably heard it on the radio or perhaps on a taco bell commercial.  the rest of the album has that same energetic vibe and lush, full sound.  it feels more mature than their debut, manners, and more accessible as well.  recommended if you like the electro-indie-dancy sound.  kind of like the arcade fire but more synthesized.  highly recommended.

vinyl shopping: of monsters and men – my head is an animal

i first heard of monsters and men this august at the osheaga music festival in montreal.  they played an energetic set in the 90+ degree weather that ended up being one of my favorite performances of the festival.  i’ve been excited to buy their 2011 release, my head is an animal, ever since.  originating in iceland, this 6-piece band has an indie-dreamy-folky feel that sounds like a cross between feet foxes/the xx/beach house/band of horses/mumford and sons.

their super-catchy single “little talks” helped propel them out of iceland and onto the international scene, and the album is a cross between these up-tempo sing-a-long type songs and a few bedroom-pop style songs which really bring out the beauty the male and female vocalists.

interlaced with mythical-sounding lyrics, this album reminded me of old folktales.

of monster and men is actually returning home and playing iceland airwaves this november, which will no doubt be an amazing event (sigur ros is headlining the festival as well).  too bad tickets are already sold out.

overall, one of my favorite purchases of the year – i cant recommend this album enough.  definitely pick it up.