Monday, November 9, 2009

New Music Fiesta

Sitting in El Maguey this past Saturday night polishing off an enorme pitcher of frozen strawberry margaritas with my brother and his wife, I realized how much I miss summer already. Later, as I watched E. and D. leave the restaurant on their now-weaving tandem, I had a sudden buzzed urge for heat, warmth, and new music. For me, music alleviates fall's color void. Perhaps that's why I spent a few hours earlier that afternoon cleaning my apartment to Orchestra Baobab's Pirates Choice (always puts me in a summery mood). (Cuban-infused rhythms from Senegal = Bliss)

Once the leaves are gone and things get gray, I head inside to find warmth and life in sound. So this weekend I scrounged around a bit for some new music to be the strawberry red in my margarita.

Sam Means

Sam Means was once half of the beloved Arizona duo The Format. These days he's on his own and just recorded the soundtrack to The Sinking of Santa Isabel (September 29), an independent comedy about one man's quest to recapture the magic of childhood by living in a treehouse all summer.

"Love and Pain" (from The Sinking of Santa Isabel)

"Yeah Yeah" (from The Sinking of Santa Isabel)

Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, a.k.a. Lay Low

Lay Low is Iceland's Bjork-in-training, minus the robotic edge and futuristic flourish. In fact, on her latest album Farewell Good Night's Sleep, Lay Low sounds more Nashville than Reykjavik, although there's still a frosty Icelandic sheen in the vocals.

"Last Time Around" (from Farewell Good Night's Sleep)


Solander is the solo project of Fredrik's Fredrik Karlsson. In "Looking for Gold" from Since We Are Pigeons (October 14), the Swedish group spins hypnotic vocals around a warm orchestral heart beating with off-beat guitar and a subtle electronic pulse.

"Looking for Gold" (from Since We Are Pigeons)

Old Canes

(The beard trend continues to grow...)

Old Canes is Chris Crisci, one-half of Lawrence, Kansas' The Appleseed Cast, who recorded Feral Harmonic (October 20) almost entirely alone in his basement. It's a raw ruckus of an album with lots of grungy, foot-stomping movement.

"Trust" (from Feral Harmonic)

"Little Bird Courage" (from Feral Harmonic)


For those who love Air: Bibio breathes out ambient experimental noise perfect for cloud gazing. Bibio is Stephen Wilkinson, a Brit who released his second full-length album, Ambivalence Avenue on June 22. It features a little bit of everything: 70s wah wah, looping flute, falsetto voices, hip hop, folk guitar, lounge beats...

"Ambivalence Avenue" (from Ambivalence Avenue)

"Lovers' Carvings" (from Ambivalence Avenue)

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