Jessica Pratt’s voice is something special, a breathy, elfin coo that calls to mind Marc Bolan’s spirited yelp as well as Vashti Bunyan’s inward-facing whispers, channeled through Pratt’s own wry, observational tone. “I see you standing wasted alone in my mind,” she sings directly on opener “Wrong Hand,” but such a line doesn’t feel bitter coming from Pratt’s mouth, as if it’s a gentle warning rather than a harsh truth. “People’s faces blend together like a watercolor you can’t remember in time,” she sings with precision at the outset of “Game That I Play.” Her guitar playing feels nimble yet immediate, leaving in missed notes in the one-take-sounding, stark and lo-fi “Strange Melody,” while her intriguing fingerings and tunings seem to draw inspiration from Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, though the way she contorts her voice from a floating, teetering high register to a disconcerting low feels entirely unique. The songs themselves are allowed to meander, though never indulgently; rather, On Your Own Love Again feels exceptionally well edited, its serpentine arrangements remaining relatively coiled. “Game That I Play” manages to sneak in a stunning second movement while keeping the song trim at just over four minutes. And she doesn’t overstay her welcome. At just more than half an hour, Pratt ends her second album leaving you wanting more, turning over her curious phrases and mystical voice to uncover their secrets, especially on one of the album’s final and best songs, “Back, Baby”—its pensive breakup lyrics like “your love is just a myth I devised” sting softly amid loping, seaside acoustic guitar. On Your Own Love Again is gorgeous through and through, and it’s easily one of the best albums of this early new year.
Championing independent music and culture for 23 years now, Noise Pop Music Festival returns to venues all over San Francisco and Oakland from February 20 - March 1.
It's easy to see why Noise Pop is the Bay Area’s favorite indie music, arts, and film festival. Just check out this year's line-up! With musical acts like The New Pornographers (2/28, Fox Theater), Caribou (3/2, The Fillmore), Best Coast (2/24, Bottom of the Hill), and many more, consider the Bay rocked. The film programming also promises to be searing hot with screenings of Hardcore DEVO Live (2/20, Roxie Theater) and Lester Bangs: Immortal Volume (2/21, Swedish American Hall), just to name a few.
Check out the full schedule of events HERE, where you can get individual tickets, General Festival Badges, Super Fan Badges, and Film Badges!
Today (Jan 26th) Ariel Pink's video for the song "Dayzed Inn Daydreams" was published online. The song, culled from the LA artist born Ariel Marcus Rosenberg's acclaimed recent 4AD album pom pom (the mid November 2014 release that made several Amoeba 2014 year-end best-of lists), is the latest single off the album and the newest installment in the ongoing series of videos directed by LA-based filmmaker Grant Singer for Ariel's album. It follows videos for the pom pom tracks "Put Your Number In My Phone" and "Picture Me Gone," and continues their themes of focusing on the stark and dismal mundane aspects of the everyday life of hard working Americans (lots of cigarette smoking too) with Rick Wilder (Mau Maus) playing the central character in the video that also features a brief cameo of Ariel (bumming a ciggie). "It's the story of a man, played by Rick Wilder, who was once the frontman of a band that existed decades ago. Through a series of scenes depicting his everyday life, we tell his story," explains director Grant Singer of this third installment in the pom pom series. You can the album at Amoeba in four formats: digital download, CD, cassette, and vinyl formats. Meanwhile upcoming US concert dates for Ariel Pink include Bimbo's 365 in San Francisco on Feb. 7th, Terminal 5 in New York City on Feb 25th, and at Burgerama at the Observatory in Santa Ana on March 28th and 29th.
Out Feb. 3
These nocturnally minded Australians set themselves apart from post-punk pack with creeping, atmospheric songs that seem to exist in a netherworld between sleep, dreaming and waking life. Songs like “You I Never Knew” lurch forward with jangling guitars and pounding beats before resting back into woozy, cloudy textures, on tracks like “Pay for Strangers.” Definitely a band to watch for 2015.
To read more Behind The Grooves, go to http://behindthegrooves.tumblr.com.
Born on this day: January 26, 1955 - Virtuoso rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen (born Edward Lodewijk Van Halen in Nijmegen, The Netherlands). Happy 60th birthday, Eddie!
On this day in music history: January 26, 1970 - Bridge Over Troubled Water, the fifth studio album by Simon & Garfunkel, is released. Produced by Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Roy Halee, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in Los Angeles and New York City from November 1968 - November 1969. After a triumphant year in 1968 with the back to back successes of the soundtrack forThe Graduate and their fourth album Bookends, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel will begin work on what will be their final studio album in the Fall of 1968. Progress on the album will be slow at first with Simon having little new material written at the outset. Then work will be further hampered when Garfunkel leaves the sessions to work on his first film, director Mike Nichols’ Catch-22, spending eight months on location in Mexico. In the interim period, Simon will write the rest of the songs and recording will resume in the Fall of 1969. The ambitious breadth of material will push the boundaries of what the duo has done previously, and though the sessions are productive, there will also be tension between the old friends as relations between the two begin to break down. The two will argue over what is to be the twelfth track on the album. Simon prefers a song he’s written called “Cuba Si, Nixon No,” while Garfunkel favors a Bach chorale-influenced song called “Feuilles-O.” When they cannot resolve the argument, the album will be released with 11 tracks instead of 12. When Bridge is finally completed, it is released to near universal acclaim from both fans and critics alike. At the time of its release, it will be one of the biggest selling albums in the history of Columbia Records. It will spin off four singles including “The Boxer” (#7 Pop), “Cecilia” (#4 Pop), "El Condor Pasa" (#18 Pop), and the epic title track (#1 Pop). The album will also sweep the Grammy Awards in 1971, winning six including Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Album Of The Year. In March of 2011, Sony will release a 40th anniversary edition of the album which also includes two DVD's featuring the long unseen Songs Of America TV special (which previewed songs from the album before its release), and a documentary titled The Harmony Game. Bridge Over Troubled Water will spend ten weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.