Went to see Beach House and Papercuts at 930 Club in DC. Here are a few photos I took while trying out a new fixed lens on my camera. A tad repetitive due to lack of zoom, but overall some decent shots.
Caught a sweet house show at Subterranean A featuring Weekends, Secret Mountains, and one of my favorite new bands of 2010, Lower Dens. I heavily pushed Lower Dens last year, helping bring them in for a Tiny Desk Concert — which I filmed and edited — in addition to reviewing them for Song of the Day and voting their debut Twin Hand Movement one of my favorite albums of the year. So yeah, I’m a fan. It was cool to see them in such a cool space.
Here’s a gallery of photos I took that night:
Kanye West just dropped a new video for “All Of The Lights” directed by directed by Hype Williams and featuring Rihanna and Kid Cudi. And wow, this video starts out with a dramatically stark intro of a little girl, gorgeously filmed in black and white. But get past that plaintive piano and cello intro and it explodes into a seizure-inducing strobe of color and retro ’80s/’90s typography. This one will make your brain melt if you watch it in full-screen mode. But the video sure looks great, especially when Rihanna shows up in that “Fifth Element” top she’s got on. As for the song, it’s got that typical Kanye swagger/ego mixed in with some pathos about wanting to be a better father. Decent song, great video.
UPDATE: Just got tipped off that the typography from the video is remarkably similar to the opening credits to the film Enter The Void:
Wow, it’s like Kanye and Hype Williams ripped it off wholesale.
After a strangely sleepless night, I woke up to an email saying the new Radiohead album The King Of Limbs had dropped a day earlier than expected. I quickly downloaded the mp3 files (I purchased the so-called special editiion “Newspaper Album” as well — though that will come out in May) and gave it a listen. The video for the first “single,” “Lotus Flower” also premiered — apparently in a public square in Tokyo. What I love about the video is the way it captures the flailing spasmodic dance moves that Thom Yorke does on stage. It’s like he’s exorcising his demons. Well done.
One of my favorite shows over the last few years has been Friday Night Lights — a show with a small but dedicated fanbase. The show has always been more than about football: Friday Night Lights always wore its heart proudly on its sleeve and I’ve always loved the way it has lovingly depicted its characters with respect, its small town location of Dillon, Texas with gritty accuracy and its story lines (for the most part) with a devoted and detailed realism.
The show payed attention to the little moments — establishing a feeling of both mundane claustrophobic life and a romantic nostalgia for a sense of place in a part of America that seems long since forgotten. Life can be hard, and not everyone gets a happy ending or escape these tiny, often dead-end towns. But because of football and family and friends, Friday Night Lights proved that people can overcome a whole hell of a lot and become something greater, even if just for a single game.
The series finale aired last week and it was a perfect capper to a nearly flawless five-season run. One of the most remarkable scenes, in an episode that had MANY beautiful and emotional scenes, was the montage of the state championship game. And what put it over the top from a good scene to a great one was its use of music.
Caught a show last night at the Rock and Roll Hotel with new band Braids and electronic artist Baths. Show was mostly good — Baths certainly earned points in my book for making his electronic laptop music look interesting in a live setting by triggering samples and beats in real time with his sweet digital interface, not to mention singing live. That really helps considering so many laptop musicians can essential push play and walk away if they wanted.
Had some lens focus issues with my camera so didn’t get a huge variety of shots, but here’s a gallery of some of the better ones.
Suuns was one of my favorite new discoveries of 2010. They also had one of my favorite album covers of the year: a stark black and white photograph of a sparsely lit woman. It was simultaneously alluring and dangerous. Much in that vein comes the video for “Pie IX,” which captures that same dark vibe with a throbbing beat and strobe light that illuminates a beautiful young woman. It get’s a little NSFW near the middle, but it’s a great looking and minimal video of a cool song.
Seriously though, what’s with all the recent nudity in these videos of late? I guess you gotta do that to draw in clicks in these days of the web where it can be hard to maintain anyone’s attention for long.
…But also a pretty great music video. I like how it takes on this B-movie, grindhouse horror movie vibe. But yes, just like their last video for “Rubber,” “Holing Out” definitely has some nudity and, in this case, some blood and gore.
Yuck has pretty quickly become my favorite new band of 2011, which can be seen in action in my Song of the Day review on NPR Music.
I just love the hazy, out-of-focus look to this video for James Blake’s “The Wilhems Scream” from his forthcoming self-titled full-length album. This album is pretty durn great at times — moody, dark, minimal but man, can Blake sing. His voice is a mix of Antony’s warbling croon and the affected, pained falsetto of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.