Songs We Love; Air Waves, ‘Thunder’

Air Wave's new album, <em>Parting Glances</em>, is out now. (Ebru Yildiz/Courtesy of the artist)
Air Wave’s new album, Parting Glances, is out now. (Ebru Yildiz/Courtesy of the artist)

Here’s a piece I wrote for NPR Music’s Songs We Love series about the very cool New York band Air Waves, and its song “Thunder” which features Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter buried deep in the vocal mix. The whole album, Parting Glances, is really excellent and worth a listen!

Continue reading Songs We Love; Air Waves, ‘Thunder’

Lower Dens: Confidently Embracing Hypnotic Pop

Lower Dens' third album, Escape From Evil, is out March 31 via Ribbon Music. (Frank Hamilton/Courtesy of the artist)
Lower Dens’ third album, Escape From Evil, is out March 31 via Ribbon Music. (Frank Hamilton/Courtesy of the artist)

Whether in her early years as an inward-looking and confessional songwriter, or as the enigmatic creative center of Lower Dens, Jana Hunter has always seemed like a mysterious, reserved figure. Content to mask her voice amid the foggy, blissed-out atmosphere of the Baltimore band, Hunter came off like a shy frontwoman on stage, tolerating the attention because she was driven to perform as a means to push through her own anxiety and internal darkness.

Continue reading Lower Dens: Confidently Embracing Hypnotic Pop

Photo Gallery: Lower Dens, Wye Oak @ Black Cat

Last night at Black Cat, I caught two of my favorite bands right now: Wye Oak and Lower Dens. It was an full-on Baltimore showcase as all three bands on the bill come from the city that has in recent years become one of the most vibrant and creative music towns in the country. I had just recently caught Lower Dens a few weeks back at a house show, but it was great to see them on a larger stage, filling the room with their brooding wash of distortion.

Similarly, in the year since I last caught Wye Oak, the band has put out a stellar EP, My Neighbor, My Creator, and followed it up just this past week with their newest album Civilian. And all I can say is that they just keep getting better and better. For whatever reason, I had to convince a few friends that while the band might seem sedate and folky, they are an absolute force live. They bring a raw power and blustery energy to the songs thanks to the exceptional layers of blown out guitar distortion of Jenn Wasner and the simultaneously performed keyboards and thunderous drums of Andy Stack. I can easily say this double bill was one of the top shows I’ve seen this year so far.

I brought my camera along and pushed up to the front and took a few photos of both bands, plus the opener, Lands & Peoples. Here’s a sampling of the best shots:

You can listen to both sets from Wye Oak and Lower Dens at NPR Music.

Photo Gallery: Lower Dens, Secret Mountains, Weekends @ Subterranean A

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:

Reblogging: NPR Links Update

Been awhile since I’ve dumped some links. This time I seem to have a whole boatload…So let’s get to it then.

All the Links after the jump…

Reblogging: More NPR Music Links

Another update of links.

In addition to all the videos I produce for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series, I have recently taken over as a producer on NPR Music’s Latin alternative show Alt.Latino. The most recent show from last week was dedicated to the diverse sounds of Chile.

Alt.Latino: All About Chile

You can also listen here:

And for past shows I’ve produced check out:

Alt.Latino: Old-School Disco And Brand-New Styles
Alt.Latino: Rock Innovators To Hear Now
New Music For Fall From Alt.Latino

More NPR Music links after the jump.
Continue reading Reblogging: More NPR Music Links

Reblogging: Another NPR Link Update

It’s been awhile since I had my last link dump of articles and videos and projects posted over at NPR Music and So here goes.

Reviews and Blog Posts:

— First Listen: Superchunk, ‘Majesty Shredding’

— First Listen: Blonde Redhead, ‘Penny Sparkle’

— First Listen: Jesca Hoop, ‘Hunting My Dress’

— All Songs Considered blog: How ‘Scott Pilgrim’ Rocks Out On Both Page And Screen

— Song of the Day: Lower Dens: A Blissful Swarm Of Feedback

Video work:

Ana Tijoux: Tiny Desk Concert (filmed and edited)

Brian Courtney Wilson: Tiny Desk Concert (filmed and edited)

Lawrence Arabia: Tiny Desk Concert (filmed)

Peter Wolf Crier: Tiny Desk Concert (edited)

Frazey Ford: Tiny Desk Concert (filmed)

Mavis Staples: Tiny Desk Concert (filmed)

The Holmes Brothers: Tiny Desk Concert (edited)

Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Zakir Hussain: Tiny Desk Concert (filmed)

Villagers: Tiny Desk Concert (filmed and edited)

Oh yeah, and be sure to check out the new podcast I’m producing alongside NPR’s arts and entertainment blog Monkey See. It’s called Pop Culture Happy Hour and features Linda Holmes, Trey Graham, Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon discussing all things television, movies, comics, books.

Here’s the most recent one:

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Emmys, ‘Runway,’ And General Misanthropy