Author Archive for billy

Kishi Bashi album Lighght

Kishi Bashi has a fantastic new album called Lighght which is hard to describe.  Essentially it’s pure fun.  At times during the album you can hear influences such as Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and Phoenix.  If that doesn’t pique your interest know that he used to play violin with Of Montreal.  Oh, he also sings ~20% of the lyrics in Japanese.  What more could you want?

+ more Kishi Bashi @ twf hype elbows site amazonmp3

 

John Roderick new track Same Song

John Roderick is the lead singer and creative force behind the band The Long Winters.  You’re forgiven for not knowing who they are due to the fact that they haven’t had a proper album, tour, or really any output in roughly six years.  I was bored the other day and decided to look into what had happened.  To be blunt, not much.

One gem I did stumble upon is that John has been going on entertainment cruises and performing his music as a solo acoustic act.  And if you listen to enough of the bootleg live from a cruise boat sets you eventually stumble upon a new track.  A track that he explains is the first new music he’s created in four years.  A track that he calls Same Song.  It’s a gem of a song that I became so addicted to I looped the Youtube video on solid repeat throughout an entire work day last month.  For those that are new to John’s style this is a perfect slice of an introduction.  Hopefully he puts out a proper album sometime in the near future.

+ more John Roderick @ twf hype elbows site amazonmp3

Technical Issues

It has recently come to my attention that there is a very large quantity of file leeching going on with my blog.  For instance, in the past week, my blog  receives an average of 8,000 page views per day.  However, there are a few files that pop up each week that are accessed in excess of 100,000 times per day.  With this currently happening I can’t post about any new music and I have already had to plead with my hosting provider (twice) just to keep the site up and running.

Please don’t directly link to any files that are on this site.  Although I have “unlimited” bandwidth there are still physical limits to how many connections my hosting server can handle.

Thank you and keep listening to good music.

The Lone Bellow Live in Indianapolis

Zach Williams is the front man for current up and coming sensation The Lone Bellow.  I personally began following his career around seven years ago.  From the very beginning I have been impressed.  He approach to music has always been filled with an honesty that comes blasting through his vocals.  Other than Sufjan Stevens and The Weakerthans there is no other artist I have written about more frequently on The World Forgot.  Seriously, I’ve written a lot about his career (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, exclusive ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen) starting in 2006 when I found him on MySpace and continuing through a few months ago when I helped financially support his latest album via Kickstarter.

My interest began by trolling through MySpace (something all bloggers did in 2006).  I found his music, ripped a few tracks, and put them up on my blog.  I used them copiously in mixes.  As the years rolled on Zach and I eventually exchanged emails and I encouraged him to continue making music.  From that first song I believed he had a unique voice.  An honest voice.  Eventually Zach moved to New York and our communications eventually drifted apart.  Through it all I followed his music and continued to push his albums on my siblings and friends as Christmas and birthday presents.  I even convinced some friends in New York to go to his shows.  The one comment I remember those friends telling me is that they met Zach after the show and he was “incredibly nice.”

I often thought of driving to New York to see a show, but financially it really wasn’t an option.  And then a few months ago Zach’s latest band, The Lone Bellow, announced that they going on a small tour and would be playing in my current home town.  The only catch; they were going to play on a day when I was going to be out of town. My wife and I called the airline and the resort to see if we could get an earlier flight.  The cost to change reservations was over $300 – once again I was financially unable to attend a Zach Williams show.  I was bummed, but it didn’t last long.  The Lone Bellow backed out of their original performances and rescheduled for later in the year (this time as a headliner – not the opening act).

I carefully cleared my schedule. I couldn’t find anyone who was free to attend the show.  I went alone.

I was standing at the back of the venue during the opening group because I usually see someone I know when I’m at this venue.  And then Zach walked in on a video call, stood right in front of me for a few minutes, and then walked past me again on his way out the front door.  I stopped him at that point (sorry for interrupting your call) and he gave me a head nod that clearly communicated “I don’t know you, but people often call out my name, so hi.”  I wasn’t even sure if he would remember me and I hadn’t even attempted to let him know I would be at the show, but when I introduced myself he lit up immediately.  We got to meet face to face after seven years of internet encouragement.  During the show he even told the brief story of a kid named Billy who had a music blog who believed in him all those years ago when he was playing 2am shows in Chinatown.

From all of this you could probably surmise that I’m slightly biased.  However, my wife pointed out that they must be doing something right if they’ve been in People magazine twice now (Zach humbly and instantly gave all the credit to their “really good publicist”).  All personal connections aside, The Lone Bellow put on a gem of a concert.  They played and joked for around 90 minutes.  They hit all of the songs from their debut album, covered the John Prine & Bonnie Ratt song Angel From Montgomery (which you can watch here on vimeo), as well as Paul Simon’s Slip Slidin’ Away, and interacted with the audience in a way that made everyone feel like they were a part of some special shared moment.

At the end of the regular set Zach mentioned they were approaching the end of the road which prompted a front row patron to spontaneously launch into the chorus of Boyz II Men’s staple End Of The Road.  The band took it in stride and sang two full verses acapella.  Then for the start of their three song encore, just to prove they had some legitimate 90′s R&B credibility, they sang a wonderful rendition of Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby.  The crowd loved it and you could see the band was truly enjoying themselves in Indianapolis.

mp3 : The Lone Bellow – Bleeding Out

During our brief conversation I asked Zach if he felt they had finally made it.  He was straightforward in his response saying they’ve all quit their other jobs and this band is paying their bills.  I still believe in the honesty of Zach’s voice.  There is an undeniable intensity to his performance and I can’t encourage you enough to go see them when they play your town.  Their debut album is a solid effort, but it is elevated to to a true experience when it’s played in a live setting.  You’re invited to sing along and become a part of a unique moment in time that will leave a smile lingering for days after it’s done.

Go buy their album from Amazon or iTunes today and keep supporting great music.

Zach – it was great to finally meet you in person.  I’m eagerly looking forward to your long and successful music career.  Come back and play in Indianapolis some day.

+ more The Lone Bellow @ twf hype elbows site amazonmp3 itunes

The Thermals album Desperate Ground

I sat down last night to write a brief and witty review of the newest album from The Thermals.  My internet connection rebelled and I think that might have been a good thing.  This album, Desperate Ground (amazon) (itunes), is great.  It’s really great.  For the past week I have been using it quite heavily in my playlist at work.  All day long I listen to albums.  Back to back to back albums.  Since Desperate Ground entered that list I have literally played it in direct rotation with all other albums.  By that I mean I listen to album A, then once through Desperate Ground, then album B, back to Desperate Ground, etc.

All told I reckon I’ve listened straight through this album at least twenty five times.  It helps that it runs a brisk 26+ minutes and no song clocks in longer than 3:20.  It also helps that every song is a perfect fit on the album.  There isn’t a moment that you begin to feel temptation to skip to the next track.  There are no low points to speak of.  This is pure guitar driven rock (or punk, or post-punk, or whatever label you can come up with) with no other purpose than to have a good time.  It will give you motivation on a Monday morning.  It will help you push through random paperwork.  It will keep your feet tapping and your head bouncing along to the beat.

mp3 : The Thermals – Our Love Survives

At the end of this year I can guarantee this album will still be in my top ten.  If you haven’t heard them before and you like this small sample go ahead and order their album from Saddle Creek (you get a load of swag for preordering).  Then stop and drop them an email or tweet and ask them why they’re not playing a show in Indiana.

+ more The Thermals @ twf hype elbows site last.fm amazonmp3 itunes

Sigur Ros new song Brennistein

I had the luxury of seeing the Sigur Ros tour last summer when they played a magnificent set on the lake shore just outside of downtown Toronto (see picture above).  With the skyline as their backdrop they played through almost two full hours of absolutely gorgeous music.  If you like even one song from the band I highly recommend that you get out and see their current tour.  You will not be disappointed.

Speaking of their ongoing world tour – the band from Iceland is doing it in support of an upcoming all new album that will be released on June 17th.  They’ve posted their first single from the album and it sounds like it’s going to be another epic album.

mp3 : Sigur Ros – Brennisteinn

+ more Sigur Ros @ twf hype elbows site last.fm amazonmp3 itunes

The Strokes new album Comedown Machine

The Strokes have unleashed a new album into the world and on first listen I can’t really grasp what their vision for the album was.  Their guitar/synth mashup style has now seemingly eschewed their wall of fuzz trademark and Julian’s vocals are even more unintelligible than usual.  On the opening track, Tap Out, it feels like the boys are gassed and are consciously trolling their fans, peers, and label.  The song has the pep and bounce you would expect, but the formula is missing something.  On previous efforts it felt as if The Strokes didn’t care an ounce and yet they combined that with an effortless sense of cool.  Here it feels, at times, like they genuinely just don’t care.

Elsewhere on the album you can hear their genius.  To be fair, I think this is the problem.  When viewing The Strokes through the lens of their previous efforts it’s easy to say they’re coming up short.  To label Comedown Machine (amazon) (itunes) as a poor effort is easy to do when you have Is This It sitting on the shelf.  It’s the same routine that has plagued other bands like Weezer or even Arcade Fire.  When your debut is so breathtakingly spot on everything you do after that will fall short of the impossible litmus test.

mp3 : The Strokes – One Way Trigger

All of that is true, and yet this is still a fun album from The Strokes.  It has some forgettable moments, but it also has a few songs that will stick with you and keep you trudging back through the full track list looking for that hidden spark.  Still it’s songs and demos like the following that make me wish for what could still come from the New York boys.

mp3 : The Strokes – I’ll Try Anything Once (You Only Live Once Demo)

+ more The Strokes @ twf hype elbows site amazonmp3 itunes

Cloud Cult album Love

With their latest album, Love (buy on their site) (amazon) (itunes), Cloud Cult continues to prove that some bands get better and better the longer they make music.  I have tried to come up with a witty review for this album and I find myself returning over and over again to this simple phrase; Love is a perfect Cloud Cult album.  On a track by track basis you can clearly hear their past musical styles shine through and ultimately blend together into what is essentially a “best of” album composed entirely of new songs.

I have long talked about Cloud Cult as the best band you’ve never listened to.  This album proves it and would be an excellent starting point for any new fan.

mp3 : Cloud Cult – Complicated Creation
mp3 : Cloud Cult – Meet Me Where You’re Going

If I’ve piqued your interest in the least you can sample more of their music in a rather long ode I wrote about the band a few months ago (click here).

+ more Cloud Cult @ twf hype elbows site last.fm amazonmp3 itunes

The Lone Bellow Debut Album

I have been following a musician named Zach Williams almost as long as I’ve been writing this blog.  I first stumbled upon his music when his moniker was Zach Williams and The Ramparts.  Those were the heady days of Myspace and random music links that led you farther and farther down the rabbit hole.  I followed his career as he made the move to NYC and at one point we started to email back and forth occasionally.  I recall vividly a time when he was playing a lot of local shows in the New York area and I convinced an old high school chum to go and see a show.  He ended up staying after the concert and meeting Zach in person; he described Zach as personable, friendly, and a very emotional performer.

After awhile my correspondence fell off and there were rumours that Zach was done with his pursuit of music.  And then the latest chapter in his career started with The Lone Bellow.  Originally running as another “Zach Williams and the” effort they eventually settled on the simpler moniker of The Lone Bellow.  Eventually they decided a full length album was worth a try and they raised funding on kickstarter to get it made.  Those of us fortunate enough to support the album were treated with digital and physical media alongside some magnificent live recording sessions that really captured everything I’ve always been told about their live sets.

mp3 : The Lone Bellow – Tree To Grow

If you haven’t heard of this band yet rest assured that they will be growing in popularity in the months and years to come.  They’re at their best when Zach is emotionally filling out a lyrical melody and the music swells to meet his voice.  Go buy their album from Amazon or iTunes today and keep supporting great music.  (And Zach – you need to play a show in Indianapolis)

+ more The Lone Bellow @ twf hype elbows site amazonmp3 itunes

The Best Albums of 2012

This past year (well past by this point might I add) provided us with a slew of good to great music. There were new albums from Ben Gibbard, Muse, The Killers, and B.o.B. to name a few. They all made solid efforts in 2012, but they didn’t quite crack the top ten albums. Below is my list, long overdue.


01: Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

From the opening of the first track you can almost sense that this is a special effort. There is a quiet intensity, a captivating beauty, that threads through every melody and harmony on this wonderful debut album from Iceland. By the time you get to the final track you’re only thought will be to press play again.

mp3 : Of Monsters and Men – Yellow Light


02: The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Another brilliant debut album on the list. Bursting with raw emotion and well written lyrical vignettes this album is filled with driving drumbeats and folk fueled romance. Although a few of their tracks are more aligned with radio friendly airtime it’s when they slow down that their true talent shines through.

mp3 : The Lumineers – Submarines


03: John Samson – Provincial

Many of the songs that appear on his debut solo effort closely mirror his top shelf work with The Weakerthans. While some reviewers this past year found this off-putting I find John Samson’s lyrical storytelling to be just as captivating with or without his regular band.

mp3 : John Samson – Heart of the Continent


04: Mumford and Sons – Babel

Not much needs to be written about this band or this album. They’ve grown up from an indie darling quartet to a full on success recognized the world over. This album is a worthy continuation of their career.

mp3 : Mumford and Sons – Where are You Now


05: Sufjan Stevens – Silver and Gold

I know; this is a Christmas album that’s actually a collection of five separate EP’s that were written over half a decade and they just happened to be released as a box set in 2012. I know all the reasons that this technically shouldn’t be on a list, but the entire collection is simply so good that it can’t be relegated to one month of listening every year. On top of that you can listen to each EP in chronological order and follow along with the evolution of his musical style.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Christmas in the Room


06: The Walkmen – Heaven

On this album The Walkmen continue their waffling between being effortlessly cool and trying really hard to channel Bob Dylan. The magic is when both of those efforts combine into a single glorious song. This is their best album since Bows + Arrows.

mp3 : The Walkmen – Line by Line


07: Beach House – Bloom

Although not quite as captivating as their previous effort (Teen Dream) their latest effort provides the same breathy vocals and building crescendos that have become their trademark.  This music would fit in almost any scenario.

mp3 : Beach House – Myth


08: Matt & Kim – Lightning

If you didn’t feel like dancing you will after a single listen to this album.  Or you might have a seizure.  It’s honestly a tossup.  Matt & Kim put out a solid album this time around and their one weakness (vocals on slower tracks) is kept to a minimum this time around.

mp3 : Matt & Kim – Now


09: fun. – Some Nights

It began for most people when their song We Are Young was featured prominently in a primetime commercial (possibly debuted during the Big Game?)  If you were daring enough to jump into the full album from that snippet you would find yourself treated to a modern day pop musical; complete with letters to moms, hanging out with friends, and pleas to find true love.

mp3 : fun. – All Alright


10: Jack White – Blunderbuss

I feel like I’m breaking an unwritten rule putting Jack’s first solo album this far down my list.  The problem is that for every brilliant track on the album, there is another track that reminds you how great Jack White is when he’s surrounded by other creative people.  This is a solid album, but it’s not his best effort.  I’ll go ahead and label it the Josh Ritter effect whereby an album starts off brilliantly and then veers into head scratching territory.

mp3 : Jack White – Freedom at 21