Representing Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, FYM showcases original artwork, thoughtful well-written feature stories about our favorites in art, music, and culture on the West Coast.
Please Visit our website:
The FYM Jam of the Day is inspired by a photo our Los Angeles Senior (Executive) Writer Will ‘get off of my cloud’ Sellers, recently posted. Sellers has an ongoing Life in Southern California photo series and this is his most recent photo:
The nicely framed shot above reminded this Art Director of Arcade Fire’s artwork form their most recent album (The Suburbs).
Their latest single, also called The Suburbs, presupposes: the cinematic vision of a dystopic suburban consciousness. Where the kids aren’t alright, and aimlessly try to keep their head above the brutal tide- in a watered-down police-state neighborhood. The short film (directed by Spike Jonze) exposes the ultimate destruction of innocence & freedom, in a culture destined to fail. Check out the video below:
Continuing the theme of running with our stream of consciousness this evening.. The video above reminds FYM of the cult classic Over The Edge. Check out young Matt Dillon (pre-Outsiders) in his first feature film, following a group of angst-fueled suburban teens, that can’t take it anymore.
With a soundtrack featuring Van Halen, and camp-filled imagery of youth in revolt (guns, drugs, school burnings) it’s a lost treasure that will compliment listening to this latest Arcade Fire record while viewing the movie with the sound off.
Written By: Los Angeles- Senior Writer, Will Sellers
Graphic By: Seattle- Art Director, Jesse Codling
The first of a series of Matthew Friedberger albums to be released exclusively on vinyl in 2011 arrived in the mail yesterday several days ahead of its release date. Thanks are in order to Thrill Jockey Records for the speedy delivery and for being an open-minded enough record label to let one of its artists to partake in such an experiment on a grand of a scale as Friedberger’s.
(Click on the image above for a larger version)
In case you missed the details in our 2011 Artists On the Horizon feature last month, Friedberger, one half of The Fiery Furnaces, is set to release a series of eight albums (and a pair of bonus releases), appropriately collectively titled Solos, over the course of 2011. The releases are only available on vinyl, limited to 700 copies each as a unit, with a few being sold individually in stores and on Thrill Jockey’s site. Click HERE for more info on this $70 subscription series and for ordering information.
Each of the eight albums has its own title and will be composed of music performed by Friedberger’s vocals and one different instrument for each album. For example, the first of these albums, Napoléonette, which can be seen in the image above, was recorded by Friedberger over three days in October 2010 solely using three studio pianos and his vocals. Listen below to the track “Shirley” featured on side A of Napoléonette:
Montreal’s No Joy hit Los Angeles’ The Satellite (formerly/concurrently known as Spaceland) and left a roomful of attendees of the Silverlake venue with ringing ears while drenched in guitar feedback.
The foursome, led by guitarists/singers Laura Lloyd and Jasmine White-Glutz, are touring in support of their debut album Ghost Blonde, which is out now on Mexican Summer (who have had a hell of a year, by the way. Give your A&R team a raise!). Check out the album on Mexican Summer’s shop by clicking HERE. Ghost Blonde definitely seems like one of those albums that was just made to be played on vinyl.
No Joy’s expansive sound is a musical Venn diagram that intersects several of the most power genres of indie rock: shoegaze, noise rock, psychedelia. Like shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine before them, gorgeous melodies can often be found somewhere in the haze of guitar noise. Then, on songs like Ghost Blonde highlight “Hawaii”, the band prove they can also get aggressive and show their teeth, coming off energized and sexy, not unlike Kim Gordon.
Listen below to FYM favorite “Indigo Child”, in which the band manages to capture the alluring mysteriousness of 80’s Sonic Youth while delivering an undeniably hypnotic vocal melody:
No Joy is currently on tour with Mexican Summer labelmates Best Coast and Best Coast mate Wavves; easily one of the best lineups for a tour you’ll see all year. The three bands are rolling through the South right now, dealing with nosy Texan cops and unfortunate van accidents (the road is tough!), but they hit the Midwest and eventually the West Coast come mid February. Those dates are listed below. Show up early for No Joy!
Words/Photo: Will Sellers Graphic: Jesse Codling
Best Coast / Wavves / No Joy:
February 12: Obama, NE (Waiting Room)
February 14: Boulder, CO (Fox Theater)
February 15: Salt Lake City, UT (Urban Lounge)
February 17: Vancouver, BC (The Rickshaw Theater)
February 18: Victoria, BC (Sugar)
February 19: Portland, OR (The Hawthorne Theater)
Impeccable Writing: Will Sellers, Design: Jesse Codling
It seems to be happening with less frequency these days, but every once in a while an artist and a new album of their’s will come along that sounds so utterly original and transfixing, that every other artistic venture you come across while addicted to this new sound is virtually ignored, leaving you alone with the new album for a week or two (maybe longer).
For Young Moderns senior writer Will Sellers has an addiction he’s very happy to have suddenly take over his life: listening to James Blake’s forthcoming self-titled debut album (out February 7 on Atlas/A&M Records) on repeat. The British Blake has quickly built a reputation on being a top minimalist dubstep producer in London via a series of very highly regarded EPs released throughout 2010.
The minimal, spastic electronic beats that defined his 2010 dubstep EPs are still present, but on his debut, his surprisingly soulful and wounded-sounding voice takes center stage. Despite it being such a tantalizingly original piece of work, there are some very familiar elements about James Blake that helps it be immediately accessible. The album borrows elements from a wide range of genres, from dubstep to blue eyed soul to piano balladry to even a hint of gospel melodies on closing track “Measurements”. Blake’s backing music is so delicate that it sometimes can come to complete silence for several beats, reminiscent of fellow Londoners The xx’s hushed sound. On “Lindesfarne I”, Blake strips himself down to just vocoder-assisted vocals on a track very reminiscent of Bon Iver’s “Woods” (famously sampled on Kanye West’s “Lost in the World”) while manipulated acoustic guitar and additional vocoder on subsequent track “Lindesfarne II” recall another great Bon Iver track, “Flume”.
These familiarities, coupled with some beautifully melancholy melodies and just enough weirdness all around may keep you feverishly hooked on this album for a long while. Everything comes together perhaps no better than on the album’s first two tracks, “Unluck” and “The Wilhelm Scream” where melodic repetition is used along with a musical build-up that ends with huge climaxes on each song. Check out the dreamy video for “The Wilhelm Scream” below:
For Young Moderns senior writer and Los Angeles correspondent Will Sellers braved the streets of Echo Park in Los Angeles overnight this past weekend in order to catch Arcade Fire play a ‘secret’ show. Here’s his story:
There was not much unique about the evening of Thursday February 10. I had known all day that Arcade Fire was in Los Angles prepping for their performances at the Grammys on Sunday and that they were planning a “secret” concert somewhere in LA for Friday night. I also already knew that tickets for this concert would go on sale at three separate locations around LA at noon on Friday. Throughout the day on Thursday, I had been theorizing with friends as to where exactly the tickets would go on sale; my guesses being Amoeba Records in Hollywood, Origami Vinyl in Echo Park, and possibly Rhino Records in Claremont (The Glass House in Pomona near Rhino Records was a leading possible venue for the concert).
I had happened to be having a few drinks with a friend at a bar (Gold Room) in Echo Park about two blocks away from Origami Vinyl on Thursday night. We parted ways just before 9:00pm and, with the idea that Origami might be a location that could sell Arcade Fire tickets kicking around in my head, I decided to walk over to Origami just to browse records. When I walked up to the store on Sunset, they had just closed shop and locked the door. Literally the instant the doors were locked, I received a text from my friend Cesar stating that Arcade Fire had just dropped huge, blatant hints that Origami would be selling tickets to their secret show at noon the next day (along with Fingerprints Records in Long Beach and The El Rey Theater in Los Angeles).
Since I was the only person standing in front of Origami Vinyl at the moment Arcade Fire let it be known where tickets would be going on sale, I realized I would be the very first person in line if I chose to stay. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and knew this was such a huge and rare opportunity and that I should probably stick around for at least a little while to gauge what the situation was going to be. Sure enough, within minutes, Echo Park locals started flocking to Origami’s storefront. People who lived within a few blocks of Origami were there very quickly, some managed to bring a chair, others were prompt to gather a few blankets.
By 10:15pm or so, approximately twenty to thirty people were already lined up behind me.
(Click on any image to enlarge it)
(The line in front of Origami Vinyl at 10:15pm Thursday)
Some people came alone, others came in groups. Before long, everyone was making new friends, conversing about everything from bands they’ve seen live, bands they’re in, school, Egypt, jobs, anything. There was constant talk regarding theories about the show. Are we all even at the right place? Did Arcade Fire mean Origami Vinyl or Dangerbird Records over in Silverlake? Where would the concert be? The Glass House? The Sex? Or the Ukrainian Cultural Center where Dirty Projectors played a show a while back? (Yes, someone guessed correctly). Whiskey was being passed around and people offered to bring some food and blankets for others. Everyone was in good spirits and bonded quite well.
Due to my light clothing and general unpreparedness, I knew I would have to make a trip home, so it was important that I got friendly with the fellow fans directly around me so I could ask them if I could run home for a bit to put on some heavier clothing and bring blankets and cash and a chair among other things. I got the go-ahead that they would save my spot, and I didn’t tell them that I lived about twenty-five to thirty minutes away and that it would actually be a little while. I raced home across LA, got money, a folding chair, multiple layers of clothes and blankets, a pillow, Keith Richard’s Life, phone charger, water bottles, and even a few guitars. I made it back to Origami at midnight and stayed up until about 3:00am chatting with people and explaining to many concertgoers exiting The Echo next door what we dozens upon dozens of people are camped out for. Journalists from local indie blogs and publications came by just to take pictures and interviews of us on the sidewalk, including famed Los Angeles music writer Kevin Bronson of Buzzbands.la (who gave me a shoutout on his Twitter account, which you can click HERE to read).
Even though I moved my car to the sidewalk next to the line of people trying to sleep, I chose to sleep on the Sunset Blvd sidewalk.
(One night of sleeping on the hard sidewalk reinforced the fact I never want to be homeless)
I, of course, struggled to actually get some sleep in the cold night, probably only getting ninety minutes or so of actual sleep before waking up around 6:00am. Most others were already awake by then, and I was able to watch the sunrise over Chavez Ravine, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, just beyond Sunset Blvd:
(Sunrise over Sunset)
People were clearly started to get energized and exciting the longer the morning went on. We at the front of the line made trips to Lucy’s Laundromat and Burger King for coffee and restroom purposes. Rumors about the location of that night’s big concert were running wild. People were constantly texting friends who waited all night at the other sale locations to see if they had any new info. On his Twitter, Origami chief Neil Schield said he was surprised and excited that so many people camped out overnight in front of his store. He showed up with boxes of doughnuts for the loyal fans and assured us that the tickets would go on sale right at noon, as promised.
(The front of the line the morning after a cold night)
(The line at Origami not long before noon Friday)
Employees of Origami gathered inside the store roughly an hour before tickets went on sale, presumably doing some last minute organization and doughnut consumption. By 11:30am, word had been essentially confirmed that the concert would take place that night at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Los Angeles, on Melrose near the 101 Freeway and Vermont. At noon came the moment all us exhausted, temporarily homeless people had been waiting for. The store’s doors opened, and I was one of the very first people to purchase a pair of tickets for this Arcade Fire concert. In an attempt to prevent scalping, there were no hard tickets, but rather names were placed on a list and a photo ID had to be brought to the venue later that night in order to confirm your rightful entry.
Once names were put down on the list, it was back to home for a much-needed meal, shower, and nap. Before I knew it, it was already time to head back out again and go to the Ukrainian Cultural Center on the east side of Los Angeles where, despite the rules stated on the ticket stating no lineups before 7:00pm, people were presumably camped outside of since just past noon. The UCC is an old concert venue hidden around some residential streets that hasn’t hosted many concerts in decades. Despite this, the interior of the building looked like it was a regularly-used concert venue, decorated and lit up perfectly for concert use for any night of the week.
(Exterior of the Ukrainian Cultural Center)
Once inside the venue, I looked around and gave nods of recognition to some of the people I had waited in line with for about fifteen hours. The friend I took to the concert and I got inside the venue at around 8:30pm and still managed to get a pretty decent spot. People were still trickling in when the band took the stage at 9:00pm sharp amongst a frenzied and incredibly excited crowd of true diehard Arcade Fire fans.
(Arcade Fire hit the stage)
Arcade Fire completely floored the crowd with their thrilling two-part opener of The Suburbs track “Month of May” flowing right into Funeral classic “Rebellion (Lies)”. Back when I saw them at The Shine in October, Win Butler seemed unsure what Los Angeles thought of his band and seemed to have a kind of beleaguered attitude toward LA. But Friday night, with the assurance that he was playing in front of true fans, Butler seemed extra relaxed, friendlier, and even a bit playful with the crowd. Their set equally favored their already-classic 2004 debut album Funeral and soon-to-be-named Grammy Album of the Year The Suburbs equally, and they did throw in a couple of songs from Neon Bible.
Highlights from the show, just like at any other Arcade Fire show, included the rousing, danceable Regine Chassagne-fronted numbers “Haiti” and “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” (which they ended on), along with the intense “Suburban War” from The Suburbs and Funeral’s stirring opener “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”.
Of course, the biggest sing-a-long moment of the night came when the band played “Wake Up”. It was definitely during the triumphant chorus of the song where I realized how glad I was to have braved the night and score tickets to what could become a legendary concert. I captured that moment on my cell phone:
Lyrics from the concert’s closing song, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”, include “I need the darkness, someone please cut the lights”. So, appropriately, during an extended outro, Win Butler repeatedly yelled at the lighting technician from the stage to cut every single light in the venue as they played. After a long while, the technician finally obliged, and the band literally played in complete darkness (aside from flashes of cameras) for a few minutes to end the show. I also captured a little bit of that magic on video, as well:
(The satisfied, presumably tired masses exiting the venue)
And the whole point of Arcade Fire being in Los Angeles for this show was, of course, them being nominated for Album of the Year, the ceremony’s biggest award. It was miraculous enough that the Grammys, who have notoriously and painfully awarded awful music almost exclusively for decades, even nominated The Suburbs for Album of the Year (against behemoths Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Eminem, and country music giants Lady Antebellum). So when Barbara Streisand sputtered out the words “The….. Suburbs…” as she read the name of the winning album, it truly felt like a historic, game-changing moment for the music industry as a whole. Hopefully, in hindsight in a few years, this victory for an album that has sold a half million copies will be seen as the start of recognizing truly great music and not as a weird bump in the Grammy’s road of awarding undeserving acts.
If Arcade Fire winning this award sparks a new era of mainstream acceptance of good music, or just the skyrocketing of Arcade Fire’s career, this tiny little “secret” concert could very well go down in history as the beginning of some kind of great new era. Bands like Arcade Fire come around only once per generation, and camping out overnight to see them at such an intimate venue is something that I would do all over again in a heartbeat.
Check out this humorous video of the clearly shocked and thrilled band as they thank various people moments after closing out the Grammys and stepping off stage:
Back in October For Young Moderns interviewed avant garde saxophonist and touring member of Arcade Fire Colin Stetson and he told us a little bit about his forthcoming sophomore LP New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, which arrives this Tuesday February 22:
For an album dominated by a man and his saxophones, Judges is too avant garde to be labeled jazz and somehow too pop-structured to be labeled avant garde. Here, Stetson has thrown away most conventions about popular music and has created a vastly original and often hypnotic album that is sure to go down as one of the most intriguing albums of 2011.
Judges is a triumph both technically and physically. The album, produced by Stetson himself along with Shahzad Ismaily, features only Stetson’s playing of either alto, tenor, or bass saxophone, yet he manages to capture a range of sounds that extends far beyond what is typically produced from these instruments. Several tracks feature singing from My Brightest Diamond vocalist Shara Worden and haunting, apocalyptic spoken word pieces from experimental musician (and spouse of Lou Reed) Laurie Anderson.
(Colin Stetson opening for Arcade Fire in Los Angeles in October 2010)
Judges is a technical feat in part to this aforementioned production of various sounds which were recorded by using up to twenty microphones at once placed around Stetson and his sax. This technique helped utilize every aspect of Stetson’s playing of his instrument, from his circular breathing methods to his percussive pressings of the saxophone’s valves, into each song. This results in the audial illusion that a full band is playing with him, when it is just Colin by himself.
To really appreciate the physical triumph aspect of this album, one needs to watch him perform these songs live, as Stetson sometimes seems to be on the verge of collapse after playing the exceedingly large bass saxophone and emptying (and then refilling) the air in his lungs to produce every sound. The sound of these inhalation techniques are very evident during some tracks, which, of course, Stetson utilizes to become part of the music itself (most notably on “Red Horse (Judges II)”, which also features Stetson using loud “popping” noises from his mouth while playing to creative a loud percussive noise).
Check out his interpretation of a Bell Orchestre song in “The Stars in His Head (Dark Lights Remix)” and listen at the beginning when his saxophone almost mimics an arpeggio-assisted synthesizer and at the 1:37 mark in the song where his hands working the saxophone sounds like a horse stampede:
Listen below to “Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes”, one of the songs on the album that heavily features vocals from Shara Worden. Stetson’s steady monotone bass sax and Worden’s aching voice make this a psychedelic blues jam that probably would have received a head nod of approval from Hendrix and/or Robert Johnson:
“Judges”, the second track on the album and a staple of Stetson’s live shows, showcases his talent for creating percussion, laying down a bass groove, and letting a simple, two note higher-pitched melody float above the song all at the same time. It’s a sure feat, to say the least:
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is one of the finest releases of 2011 so far, and a great, haunting album that invokes apocalyptic imagery (if you’re into that sort of thing). It can be preordered at Constellation Record’s site by clicking HERE.
All words and live photos by Will Sellers; graphic design by Jesse Codling.
It’s a pretty fair thing to say that when one puts on the forthcoming debut album, Starting From Nowhere, by Heidecker & Wood, you’re practically forced to ponder whether the whole thing is an expertly crafted prank of an album or a legitimate tribute to Yacht Rock of the 1970s and 1980s. Why this dilemma? Mostly the Heidecker half of Heidecker & Wood is none other than Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job / Tom Goes to the Mayor co-creator Tim Heidicker. It’s not a stretch, seeing how Tim & Eric already have a soundtrack to their TV show out featuring their many brilliantly absurd songs, many of which also came from the mind of Heidecker & Wood’s Davin Wood.
If you can appreciate (or, better yet, legitimately enjoy) some of the novelty themes in these songs, then this is an album that you can play between cuts from the likes of Chromeo or Hall & Oates. For example, the song “Life On the Road” heavily recalls Pink Floyd before jumping into a chorus featuring Heidecker crooning the line “I thought giving autographs would be better somehow/Who’d have thought that signing my name would cause me such pain” and then immediately doubles its tempo to a prerecorded crowd cheering the sudden Abandoned Luncheonette-style jam. The appropriately wintry “Cross Country Skiing” is a warm, wooden lodge with a fireplace and plenty of hot cocoa in the middle of a blizzard.
Whether or not you believe Starting From Nowhere is pure novelty or a pure send-up of 70s/80s soft rock (and there are no rules saying it can’t be both concurrently), there’s no denying the musical prowess and talent at hand here. This album is a collection of songs that very realistically could have been played at the wedding of the parents of most of the people in Tim & Eric’s fan demographic without anybody batting an eye.
Listen below to the horn-soaked jam “Wedding Song”, which easily could have been an Aja b-side:
Click HERE to head on over to Little Record Company’s website to order Starting From Nowhere this instant!
* * * * *
In other Tim Heidecker news, what’s up with a recent Taco Bell commercial blatantly ripping off the classic Awesome Show sketch ‘The Beaver Boys’ (white wine and shrimp!)? I can’t tell whether this is an alarmingly fitting use of bros loving their shrimp taco (and presumably white wine too) in a fast food ad or the cause for some legal action:
The original Tim & Eric sketch:
The Taco Bell commercial:
Words By: Will Sellers
Graphic By: J. Thomas Codling