Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009: Looking Back pt III

So far in my look back I've covered 10 of my favorite moments and discoveries. Now we get to the real choice picks from 2009. These are the memories that will always be associated with 2009. 

Drink Up Buttercup

This Philly act first appeared on my radar early this year and after hearing a few of their tracks I caught a show of theirs at The Fire. I was immediately sucked into their riotous set and in the subsequent shows I've seen their presentation has just gotten tighter. Busting through their songs with a degree of measured chaos that serves up a whole new level of awesome from what you hear in their recorded material. Playing an assortment of unique "instruments"- garbage cans and toy dump trucks- they often bring the fun straight out into the audience to create a truly memorable experience. James, Farzad, Mike and Ben take great pleasure in getting crazy and drawing their audience right in to the mix. This shared dedication to their stage antics is what makes DUB an act that stands out amongst the masses.

When you're done being mesmerized by their live show and you go back to really listen to them in the privacy of your own home your ear relishes greatly in the grand psych rock elements; jangly percussion, abstract lyrics and echoey vocals. Their Gods & Gentlemen and Lovers Play Dead have been on pretty much every mix tape I've made for people this year. Now that they have their album Born And Thrown On A Hook we head into 2010 knowing there will be much more to love - not to mention lots o' touring- from the guys of Drink Up Buttercup. I'm terribly excited to watch them smash and crash their way through the next year.
The duo behind the Bad Veins moniker are Ben and Sebastien, a pair of Cincinnatians with such a ginormous amount of talent spilling out of their persons it really isn't fair to other musicians trying to "make it." In addition to recognizing their talent they also hold a spot in TWIAPC's memory books because they were my first interview. I went in a little nervous but that lasted for all of two seconds as the guys quickly ordered me a whiskey and the chat commenced. While it wasn't my finest bit of information gathering I walked away with a sense of the smarts and great intention they put into every song. After the talking came the playing and, oh, what a show it was.

Their set was nothing short of epic. Seb is probably one of the tautest drummers out there and paired with Ben's grand musical vision the rush of energy that escapes them on stage is palpable, and noisy. The two are capable of producing a shocking amount of musical noise. And by that I mean they don't forgo musicality in the name of getting loud. They manage to do both...impeccably. I was fortunate to see them at Monolith as well and they were no less amazing. To really tie up their package they have put out a totally addictive album. Gold and Warm needs to be snatched up for a movie soundtrack or simply added to your own.They're going to be on the road in February with The Subjects. Don't miss them.

Dinosaur Feathers 

My relationship with Dinosaur Feathers is completely categorizable and best summed up with a simple tip of the hat to kismet. I first heard them last spring and wrote them to ask for more info about their addictive indie pop ways. After a few emails lead singer Greg Sullo politely pointed out that we had actually gone to college together. I blushed and a fantastic friendship was (re?)created.

Their music makes it conveniently easy to be a supportive friend as it is delicious and always evolving. Over this year I've had a front row seat to watch them push, pull, poke and prod their skills and potential to create a rich and distinct sound. How close you ask? Well, a great deal of their forthcoming album Fantasy Memorial was recorded in my apartment after their original location fell through. It was an awesome opportunity to see the amount of work and time that goes into recording an album. I have a much improved sense of the process that a song goes through from creation to the completed album that reaches my in box. Not to mention, a whole lot more respect for those albums that are done well.

The finished copy of Fantasy Memorial that made its way into my hands is nothing short of magical; and, yes, there is a degree of admitted bias that may nullify my opinion in your mind but I ask you to give it a listen- once it is released that is- and try hard not to find yourself hitting repeat.

Ida Maria

There isn't an album that has served up more personal anthems for me than Ida Maria's Fortress Round My Heart. From I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked to We're All Going To Hell there is something I can relate to in everyone of the tracks on that record. Oh My God was blasted through my stereo, with my stellar accompanying vocals- of course, to an embarrassingly frequent degree through '09. Whether I needed to pick myself up or let myself go Ida had something to offer.

Ida was touring through the US at a rabid pace and I was able to catch her in NY at the Bell House. She didn't fail to meet my expectations of a balls out, crazy awesome show. She's got herself a mean set of pipes and a superb backing band to play off of. As I stood there watching her I realized she is exactly the kind of rock star I would want to be. Brash, honest and talented.

Ida ended up cutting her touring short after once the frantic schedule caught up with her. But I have no doubt she'll be back with something delectable to offer in 2010.

Frightened Rabbit @ Johnny Brenda's January

Frightened Rabbit's show last January was perfection. The night was unbelievably chilly, the crowd small and the band was at their finest. I'm not shy about my adoration of Frightened Rabbit; their lyrics are sincere and witty, their musical ability is pure and their stage presence is uncomplicated and humble. I had seen them before and I've seen them since and I can say that there was a degree of straight enjoyment on the stage that night that I have rarely seen.

The set covered material from Sings The Greys as well as Midnight Organ Fight. They got raucous at times, Grant wailing away on his drums and Scott revving up the room just as much. The absolute pinnacle of the show was the encore when Scott came out and did a stunningly beautiful acoustic version of Poke. Simple and clean his voice rolled smoothly through this spare rendition. It took my breath away.

Frightened Rabbit has never failed to please in their live show but this was truly one of their best outings. They will, no doubt, be making rounds to support their new album (due at the front of 2010) so be sure to get out and see them.


indielawyer said...

enjoyed the post/summaries of the year. keep it coming, i first got turned on to the Bad Veins via your blog. (and Frightened Rabbits)...

matt hanrahan said...

jan 7, 2010
kingsize usa presents

drink up buttercup
alex bleeker & the freaks
DJ Small Change

the studio @ webster hall
E11 st NYC

tix & info: