Up and Running Again

I’ve been gone from the blog for so long it took me a few moments to remember how to find my WordPress Dashboard again! I refreshed my memory and pressed a few (read: several) links until I figured it out, and I’m back and ready to blog again!

For those who’ve stuck around, thanks for still reading. Posts to come soon!

Mic Check: Mahindra Blues Festival 2012

Mumbai sang the blues this weekend as the Mahindra Blues Festival, in its second year, played host to some of the greatest blues musicians. I had the pleasure of not only attending, but also being able to take photos and video of the most amazing live performances I have ever had the privilege to witness. Host to international artists Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Robert Randolph, John Lee Hooker Jr., and Ana Popovic, as well as Indian bands Overdrive Trio, Blackstrat Blues, and Soulmate, the Mahindra Blues Festival is another massive platform in the fast expanding live music culture that Mumbai music fans just can’t seem to get enough of.

Buddy Guy

Taj Mahal

Robert Randolph

John Lee Hooker Jr.

Ana Popovic

More photos will be on my Behance portfolio soon. In the meanwhile, check out a taste of the weekend with this clip from ThrillPill Films:

Must Hear: Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye feat. Kimbra

As if having a very unique given name wasn’t enough, Wouter “Wally” De Backer decided he would rather perform under the equally unique stage name Gotye (pronounced “Gauthier”, according to Wikipedia and his YouTube biography).

I’ve heard several songs from Gotye’s latest album Making Mirrors, and they’re all so good I considered featuring him under Artist Alert. But Somebody that I Used to Know, Gotye’s breakthrough song (featuring New Zealander Kimbra Johnson) is just so damn amazing that I didn’t want it to get lost with the others.

Somebody that I Used to Know, Gotye’s beautiful yet indignant song about former lovers, is fairly mellow to begin with. It’s easy to imagine him singing about being fairly hurt. Then comes the chorus that just blew me away. His voice is raised, the lyrics are incensed and simultaneously dismissive, the music is contemporary yet the tune very reminiscent of mellow ’80s rock. I’ve been tempted to sing this song as loudly as I possibly can, but it’s been on repeat all night and it might just drive my family crazy. Or have them thinking I’m heartbroken. Neither of which would be good for me.

Props to the sister for introducing me to this song! The roles seem to be reversing.

Movies That Rock: Horrible Bosses

I have to admit that I wasn’t planning to watch Horrible Bosses, but I do love Jason Bateman (did anyone else watch It’s Your Move way back when?) so I thought it might not be the worst thing I could do to end a perfect lazy Sunday. While there were parts of the movie during which I was a tiny bit bored, I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining it is, and it had more than just a few laugh out loud moments.

The soundtrack for the movie, on the other hand, did not waiver in the slightest. The very first song is by Spoon, a band I’m very familiar with, and there are plenty of other songs that I had not heard before but will be very pleased to hear again. Also, I did not know that one of the co-writers is the lovely John Francis Daley aka Dr. Sweets/frontman for Dayplayer. Now if only Jamie Foxx had thrown in a song or two.

The Underdog – Spoon

Learn to Lose – Hockey

Sydney – Brett Dennen

How You Like Me Now? – The Heavy

That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings

Perfect Day  – The Constellations

MoneyGrabber – Fitz and the Tantrums

Must Hear: Bottom of the River – Delta Rae

It’s not often you find a music video that looks as good as Delta Rae’s Bottom of the River. Directed by Lawrence Chen, the video for Bottom of the River is dark, beautiful, eerie, enchanting, creepy, elaborate, bewitching, stunning and disturbing all rolled in one. And the song? Dark, beautiful, eerie, enchanting…you get the picture.

Delta Rae is a six-member band from Durham that combines soul, country, rock, and gospel and describes its sound as “Alt Pop Americana Rock”. Bottom of the River actually sounds nothing like any other Delta Rae song I’ve heard, and it might just be the best so far.

You can download an extended cut of the song for free from Delta Rae’s website.

Mic Check: Live From The Console, 5th edn.

For those of you not in the know, I love taking photographs. LOVE. Why is this relevant on a music blog, you ask? Because this past weekend I had the pleasure of taking photographs at the fifth edition of Live from the Console, a fantastic platform for Indian musicians to perform original music (and the occasional cover) to a crowded house. And for the people of Mumbai who are starved for good live gigs to attend and discover new music, Live from the Console is a definite must-visit event each month.

Before this November edition of the Console, which featured Vernon Noronha, Spud in the Box, and Peter Cat Recording Co., I had only attended two editions and loved the performances by Medusa (now known as Sky Rabbit) and sonaluna + Tek. On November 12, however, the line-up for the Console was not only consistent in how good all three artists/bands were but was also indicative of just how much under-explored Indian talent there is that definitely deserves to be heard.

My pick for the best song of the night: Pariquel by Peter Cat Recording Co.

Needless to say, all the photographs in this post were taken by yours truly.

Vernon Noronhna

Spud in the Box

Peter Cat Recording Co.

Artist Alert: Fleet Foxes

Photo by Sean Pecknold

I either used to have a closed mind towards folk music, or I just hadn’t heard the right folk music until last year. At the mere mention of folk music I would start snoring (or, if I wanted to be polite, would just smile while my eyes glazed over as I thought about something else) because, really, folk music is just boring, right? Oh how wrong I was. And if you haven’t heard Fleet Foxes, you must do so immediately to understand what I mean.

Their track White Winter Hymnal – and my introduction to the Seattle-based band – was very aptly in several Top 10 of 2008 lists, and their much-awaited album Helplessness Blues released in May 2011 to frenzy and accolades across the board. One of my favourite things about Fleet Foxes is their effortless and beautiful vocal harmonies that are present in every Fleet Foxes song I’ve heard so far. Second to this are their gorgeous music videos, several of which have been directed by Sean Pecknold (the older brother of vocalist Robin Pecknold). Be sure to watch the superb claymation video for White Winter Hymnal below.

 

 

Must Hear: Brutal Hearts – Bedouin Soundclash feat. Coeur de Pirate

Bedouin Soundclash performed at the Hard Rock Café in Mumbai some time last year, but I didn’t go for the gig because I hadn’t heard of them at the time. Then, as if the universe were either giving me a sign or taunting me, I started reading about them everywhere I looked online. It’s not an an easily forgettable name, so I listened to whatever I could find to figure out whether or not I had been an idiot by not going to the gig.

I had not. While their sound is pleasing, if you would, I am not really a reggae fan and quickly tired of their songs, with one notable exception – Brutal Hearts. They paired up with fellow Canadian musician Béatrice Martin – who goes by the stage name Coeur de Pirate – for their 2010 album Light the Horizon’s fourth track Brutal Hearts, in what could be described as a love song for people who aren’t looking for love. From it’s incredibly catchy opening notes to Jay Malinowski’s very sexy voice, Brutal Hearts is a winner from the word go. And if you like the sound of Malinowski/Martin together, I can guarantee you’ll like another song I’ll be posting before the year’s end.

Artist Alert: NewVillager

NewVillager, from what I’ve read around the web, is an artist collective that is not just about the music but also the accompanying visuals, whether it be at their live shows or in their videos. Ben Bromley and Ross Simonini, the men behind NewVillager, are so dedicated that for their album “they recorded 10 versions of every song, each with different melodies, chords, rhythms, production, and lyrics, in an attempt to find the best overall representation of the NewVillager mythology“.

I’m all about the music, and what gorgeous music it is. My favourite NewVillager song is Black Rain/Genghis On, which is also the most incredibly difficult song to find online. If you like electronic pop like MGMT, Friendly Fires or Passion Pit, NewVillager are definitely the band for you. If you haven’t heard any of the aforementioned bands, then what the hell are you waiting for?

Black Rain/Genghis On

Shot Big Horixon

Rich Doors

Artist Alert: The Vaccines

In just one short year, The Vaccines seem to be everywhere. It’s difficult to look for indie music without encountering them on almost every blog, and even my Facebook news feed has been diligently feeding me posts from my friends Z and Z about their love for The Vaccines. They’re playing to sold-out shows across the UK and in Europe, and their debut album – the amusingly titled What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? – is an undeniable hit.

I first heard this London band on Post Break Up Sex, which I liked. I then heard their cover of Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night (TGIF), which I really liked. Then I heard Wetsuit and I fell in love. Absolutely in love. I haven’t posted in a while because life got in the way – my recently played tracklisted on iTunes was, until very recently, empty because I just didn’t have the time to listen to anything. But, as The Vaccines say, “We all got old at breakneck speed. Slow it down, go easy on me.”

Post Break Up Sex

Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)