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PHIEND: Purity Ring — “Fineshrine”

July 19, 2012

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Let’s believe the body is a temple. Let’s think that the heart doesn’t just pump blood. Let’s imagine ourselves, for once, unlike anything else. Let’s put education in the ground. Let’s throw symbolism up in the air and hit it out of the park. Let’s put similarity in the same corner as our demons.

       Purity Ring‘s Megan James writes so poetically about love, you forget she’s singing her words over and over again. All in all, on the stand-out track from their soon-to-be-released LP, Shrines, “Fineshrines” (stream below) is as optimistic as it is depressing . . . but is there really a difference? The duo, Megan, 24, and Corrin, 21, make such lush music I wouldn’t be surprised to hear their loose lullabies (as their record label, 4AD, likes to put it) on dance floors with tweaks simply emanating any genre.

       “Fineshrine” (watch the video here) is the nascent night, and it’s only beginning. As Megan sooths “Get a little closer, let fold / Cut open your sternum and pull / my little ribs around you” there’s a beat that is thick, distant, yet anthemic. And when beauty is painted with a brush of idiosyncratic wit, there’s a metaphor that’s haunting: “That I might see with my chest and sink / Into the edges ’round you / Into the lakes and quarries that brink / On all the edges ’round you, ’round you.” What’s to wallow in a world of beauty? To Purity Ring, they’re living in it, and making music for the heart beat.

STREAM: Purity Ring — “Fineshrine”

Shrines is due out July 24 in Canada via Last Gang / 4AD.

-Aaron Geer

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FICTION MIXTAPE: “An Erosion” Pt. 1 to Meadowlands — “U8”

July 12, 2012

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Fiction Mixtape, where reading and listening conjoin into one aesthetic. This three part series is written by Emma L. Rossen, a sheep herder and part-time writer from the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. The music accompanying her words is “U8” from the album Music From Mainzer Straße by Brooklyn’s Meadowlands. 

Press play to begin. 

       You’re not approaching anything, but your driving doesn’t end. There’s a valley to the east, but nothing really to cherish. Once, when you were six, your cousin said she’d give you a hundred bucks to find a license plate for every state. She handed you a map of America and told you to color accordingly. On your way to Maine, you finally found an Alaskan plate in the window of an Astrovan, and the colors were completed. But you never got the money.

       In the distance, a ridge and the sky seem to coalesce into a single form. These stories of myth, how we all relate. You feel alone but know you’re not – there’s Rhea in the backseat, and she’s sleeping soundly, a pillow nestled under her head. You’re not tired, and you’re wondering if just maybe you could make it to the end without resting. It’s impossible, you know it, but could they really imagine it when you tell them, that you actually did it?

       You’re not approaching anything, but your driving doesn’t end. And somewhere there’s a truck stop where other drivers can sleep, but there’s no use. You’re not tired. This energy, how it, even though you’re sitting while driving, elates you and can only be compared to the beauty of Rhea’s silent sleep. In four years, the both of you will remember this as if it were a movie, but something you can never watch again. Once it happens it never comes back.

       Your love is like an erosion. You can see it, but you don’t see how it’s working. In a few years it can either build or diminish, but there’s no use asking questions to answers you don’t understand.

       Rhea readjusts her body, and, in doing so, kicks the back of your seat. You know this feeling. When there’s nothing there, everything can be seen. Transcendence is a metaphor. Symbolism is just simile. When there’s no more anecdotes to share, the two of you mark miles by counting the number of road kill on the side of the road.

       You reach behind yourself and put your hand on Rhea. There’s a warmth here, something you wish would never fade. When she wakes, she asks where the two of you are, and you say it’s sort of hard to tell. You mention all the things you were thinking, and eventually, just as the sun rises over a prairie, she dozes off to sleep, leaving you by yourself, with just you and the space that’s available for anything.

-ELR

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STREAM: MONEY — The Amazing Sessions (w/ two new tracks)

July 10, 2012

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Josh from Crack In The Road said it better than me when he wrote, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, because quite frankly, it bears repeating: MONEY are the UK’s most exciting new band.” When they released their horrifically beautiful video for “SO LONG (GODISDEAD) in April, I wrote that “they’re one of the most anticipated bands anywhere who have yet to release a full-length.” I sent a good friend of mine who’s now working as a consultant in L.A. a live session for “SO LONG” and all he wrote back was “who is this band and why dont we know more?!”

MONEY’s mystique is slowly coming less suspended now that we have two new live tracks recorded yesterday for Amazing Radio. Totaling five songs in all, the session can be streamed on Amazing Sessions here or on Crack In The Road, where there’s plenty of good stuff to listen to afterwards.

MONEY — The Amazing Sessions 

1) Black*

2) Goodnight London

3) Hold Me Forever*

4) Letter to Yesterday

5) SO LONG (GODISDEAD)

*Previously unreleased

-Aaron Geer
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STREAM: Jens Lekman’s newest, “Erica America” off new album, I Know What Love Isn’t

June 7, 2012

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Posted by Aaron Geer

According to Secretly Canadian, Sweden’s most visceral pop star, Jens Lekman, will release his first album since his delightful Night Falls Over Kortedala five years ago. Fittingly titled, I Know What Love Isn’t will be available in the States on September 4 via Secretly Canadian (Sept 3 UK/EU, Sept 3 on Service in Scandinavia). 

The first glimpse we’re given off I Know What Love Isn’t is “Erica America,” a pun-intended, joyous pop ensemble’d four minute tease to the rest of the album. As seen in the track list below, Lekman opens up I Know What Love Isn’t with “Every Little Hair Knows Your Name,” a track he debuted as a solo acoustic performance at Read and Shout in London sometime last year (watch performance here). According to Secretly Canadian, “Every Little Hair Knows Your Name” sets the stage for what’s to come: a simple melody picked out on an echoey upright piano, like a disused one you might find in a schoolroom or church,” so obviously Lekman intends to use an array of instruments instead of the slow yet illuminating guise of the performance in London.But for now, enjoy the first taste of what’s to be handed to us in the late summer/early fall, and stream “Erica America” below.

STREAM: Jens Lekman — “Erica America”

Track Listing:
Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
Erica America
Become Someone Else’s
Some Dandruff On Your Shoulder
She Just Don’t Want To Be With You Anymore
I Want A Pair Of Cowboy Boots
The World Moves On
The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love
I Know What Love Isn’t
Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
TOUR DATES:
07/28/12 – Castelbasso, IT – Soundlabs Festival
09/10/12 – Helsinki, FI – Tavastia
09/11/12 – Århus, DK – Train
09/12/12 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
09/13/12 – Oslo, NO – Rockefeller
09/14/12 – Malmö, SE – KB
09/15/12 – Gothenburg, SE – Pustervik
09/17/12 – Stockholm, SE – Dramaten
09/19/12 – Manchester, UK – Ruby Lounge
09/20/12 – London, UK – Hackney Empire
09/21/12 – Brighton, UK – The Haunt
09/23/12 – Paris, FR – Gaité Lyrique
09/24/12 – Strasbourg, FR – La Laiterie
09/25/12 – Utrecht, NL – Tivoli de Helling
09/26/12 – Berlin, DE – Postbahnhof
Aaron Geer is the Founding Contributor to Phiendly. He works at a library and pretends to enjoy conversations about people’s dinners. He really couldn’t care less.
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Kzoo’s The Almanac Shouters to Play One Final Show

May 23, 2012

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Posted by Garret Schuelke

THE ALMANAC SHOUTERS, a trio of Kalamazoo Folk-Punkers who ended their reign of glory in July 2011, is one of those bands that brings out my selfish side as a music lover: I adore the music, and I respect the musicians involved and want them to be successful and happy in their musical careers, but I don’t want them to go away—ever .  Lucky for me, and Kalamazoo’s music scene, the Shouters are having a one-off reunion show this Friday (May 25) at The Ant Hill (check out DIT Kalamazoo for information regarding the house venues location), with performances by Lincoln County War (watch live performance here) and George Costanza, who happen to be playing their first show on their upcoming tour.

In celebration of the Shouters being united again, let’s take a look at their two albums: A Long Road Home, released in January 2010, and Windmills, released in February 2011. Both albums consist of 13 tracks, and are about as similar as the two sides of a piece of tree bark.

A Long Road Home is the more energetic album.  The first song, “Jack Kerouac” (stream below), in itself contains all the themes that make up the album: an enthusiasm for traveling, wonderment at what the world has to offer (physical, spiritual, good, bad, or otherwise), and a search for one’s identity. In the tradition of other Folk-Punk bands such as Defiance, Ohio and Andrew Jackson Jihad, many of the songs have become embedded enough in our minds that, at shows, we can’t help but give our own impromptu performances when Alex Quinlander starts rocking out, with Rory Svekric egging us on with each slap of her double bass (once to the point of one of the strings breaking during a performance).

The more somber songs, like “Vice of Men”, are the type where it’s best to close your eyes and croon along with the chorus. I believe Nola Wiersma’s singing on “Going Nowhere” to be even more emotional and nostalgic than Ryan Woods singing on “Grandma Song” (or any other of Defiance, Ohio’s somber song on “The Great Depression”, for that matter).

Windmills is a more introspective album. Rather than an album that invokes the open road, it invokes sitting in a living room, reflecting on your home life while strumming your guitar, sometimes going off into space. The second track, “Allen Blvd” (stream below), like “Jack Kerouac”, sets the albums stage when it comes to themes and attitude, and while certain songs, such as “A Mountain Song” and “Ann Bancroft” are reminiscent of some of the sing- a-longs on “A Long Road Home”, Windmills seems to avoid anthems in favor of spirituals.

 Some fun facts that you should know: the name “Almanac Shouters” was inspired by The Almanac Singers, a New York Folk group back in the 1940’s that included, at various times, legendary folk and blues musicians such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Sonny Terry, Cisco Houston, and Sis Cunnigham.  In the tradition of Folk music (not Folk-Punk), two songs on each of the albums seems to be inspired by other famous tunes (“Little Black Train”  seems inspired by a spiritual also titled “Little Black Train”, and “Windmills” tune was taken from Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train”). Nola has also been known to do an intense rendition of “Railroad Bill” at some Shouter performances.

On the invite page for Friday’s show, the description notes that, since Nola is moving away at the end of May, this is most likely the final time the Almanac Shouters will ever perform.  I cringe at this prospect, and hope that the Shouters will come together again sometime in the future, but in case that doesn’t happen, it’s comforting to know that we have the Shouters music to listen to and, like many great musicians and bands that are no longer around, their spirit will always be hanging around somewhere in our heads.

STREAM: The Almanac Shouters — “Jack Kerouac” and “Allen Blvd”
Garret Schuelke is a graduate of Western Michigan University. He writes, sorts clothes, and does all sorts of awesome tricks.
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