Posts Tagged ‘beard talk’

So here it is, seemingly six months in the making, pots&pans+spoon’s homage to the late, great Voxtrot.  I have somehow found time in between March Madness games to find writing motivation, so here I am.

Frontman Ramesh Srivastava. So precious.

First, a little history.  Voxtrot came into being and was awesome from the start.  Some of their early stuff sounded a lot like Belle & Sebastian, which isn’t a bad thing.  Here’s an early demo of “The Start of Something“:

They quickly added a little edge to their sound and created the most perfect blend of indie pop and rock this world has ever known.  To this day there remains nothing as perfect as Ramesh’s blending of poignant coming-of-age lyrics and jangly pop hooks.

The band released 3 EP’s, all adored by critics and music listeners everywhere.  Here’s “Wrecking Force” from the Raised By Wolves EP:

Due to the hype surrounding the three EPs, Voxtrot’s first full length album was hotly anticipated by music fans everywhere.  As happens sometimes in this situation, the self-titled album wasn’t everything it was hyped up to be.  Reception was lukewarm at best, the album failing to live up to the extremely high standards set by the EPs.

I actually quite like the album, though I don’t love it as much as Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, & Wives or Raised By Wolves.  Most people don’t seem to agree with me though.  Here’s “Ghost” off the full-length:

Everyone’s slight disappointment turned to horror as 2 years after the albums release, Voxtrot released a new single, “Trepanation Party.”  I’m not going to post that here.  Not that it’s the worst song in the world, it’s just very far from the Voxtrot I know and love.

Another new single was soon released, thankfully sounding something more like the old Voxtrot.  This would be the last thing released from the band, as exactly one year after announcing the band was working on material for a second album, Ramesh posted on his blog that the band was breaking up after a short tour, citing extreme pressure and a songwriting rut.

Hearts were broken, tears were shed.  Fortunately the band left behind two of my favorite EPs ever, and some other freaking awesome stuff.  Ramesh manages to pack a novel’s worth of words into each song and deliver them with a poise and sweetness I’ll never get tired of.

The best ever

Ramesh’s blog is also a great read.  It’s always interesting to gain insight into artists’ thought processes, especially when they write as eloquently and interestingly as Ramesh does.  His post about the bands break up is especially interesting/sad.

Today is a landmark here at potspansspoon, as we are offering our first p&p+s Download Value Pack!  For the price of one download you will receive all 3 incredible EPs from Voxtrot (Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, & Wives, Raised By Wolves, and Your Biggest Fan), as well as their self-titled album and the L’Adieu a l’Été demo.  That’s an incredible download value if I ever did see one.

Download the p&p+s Voxtrot Download Value Pack

What a great value!  I have even more good news too!!  As I was gathering the link to Ramesh’s blog I noticed that he posted about a month ago linking to his new site and talking about some kind of new musical venture.  To say I’m excited would be an understatement, as I have struggled to finish writing this post without venturing over to the new site to check out the new stuff.

I’m glad I finally got around to writing this post, as Voxtrot is one of my favorites, plus I found that link to Ramesh’s new stuff, so that rules too.  Next time maybe I’ll have the new Strokes album , which I still haven’t gotten around to listening to.  Or maybe I’ll have some Youth On Fire stuff!  Or Maybe both!  It’s a mystery!  Pots!  Pans!  Spoon!

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If you’re an avid reader of p&p+s (as I’m sure you are) you’ll remember that I was quite excited for Bibio’s upcoming album Mind Bokeh due to this tantilizing album sampler that was released in January:

More labels/artists should make these little youtube videos, because this moved Mind Bokeh from “Mild Excitment” to “Insomnia-Inducing Fervor” on the p&p+s Album Anticipation Scale (PPSAAS) (haha pee pee ass).  The video definitely put this album on a lot of people’s radar, including mine.  Thankfully, Mind Bokeh leaked today, and I have been genuinely enjoying it from the first listen.

Even the album cover is awesome.

When asked about the album title, Stephen Wilkinson, the lone man behind the sound, had this to say:

Bokeh is the out of focus region of a photograph. It’s not a quantifiable thing, but photographers and lens manufacturers are obsessed with it. In Japanese it means “haze,” “blur” or even “dementia.” I called the album Mind Bokeh because I’m interested in the effect of defocussing your mind, whether through meditation, chemicals or whatever — it’s a state of mind quite alien to Westerners.

It’s always cool to hear artists’ reasons for titles and lyrics for things, even if you don’t like being categorized as a high-strung Westerner.

This is the 7th Google Images result for Stephen Wilkinson. I can only assume that Bibio drives this car.

Bibio’s last album Ambivalence Avenue was hailed as a great album by pretty much everyone, so as with any follow-up to a great album fans were wary of disappointment (The King of Limbs anyone?).  Mind Bokeh is better than Ambivalence Avenue.  I can’t say there’s a song that I don’t enjoy.  Maybe this is a side effect of the album sampler, as I find that I tend to like things that sound a little familiar.

That being said, if you think this album is going to sound like the album sampler repeated 10 times, you’d be extremely wrong.  Wilkinson always manages to blend electronic and folk and I don’t even know what else to make his extremely unique sound.  Listen to “Saint Christopher“:

This was the song from the sampler that I was most eager to hear.  Since the sampler only contained a few seconds of each song, it made me really excited to hear the rest of the ones I liked.  So, pretty much all of them.  If you can’t tell already, I kind of loved this sampler thing.  I probably listened to it 50 times or so.

I think the sampler really worked for this album because it’s a very cohesive piece of music.  I don’t think it would work for an album comprised of a few good songs and a bunch of filler tracks, because inevitably you’d be left with a large percentage of shitty song clips.

So, yes, I love this a lot already.  And gauging from other reactions I’ve read around the interwebs it’s going to be on a lot of Best of 2011 lists.  So listen, love, buy, and let your mind defocus.

Download Mind Bokeh

Also, a bonus music video:

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I really thought I had,  but I just looked back and it looks like I haven’t.  Even if this is a double post, it’s worth watching again and again and again and again because the Black Keys are the coolest people in the world.

Aw crud embedding is disabled because WMG sucks.  Click through anyway though cause it’s mad awesome.

Uh well the first time I tried to play it on-site it wouldn’t play and made me watch it on youtube, but now it plays.  So I don’t know what’s going on.  JUST PRESS PLAY AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

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New post later today?  Or tomorrow?

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Hahahahah just kidding.  I like it when my facebook friends post good songs.  It makes me happy.  Check the beard.

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Music videos are the strangest things.

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Definitely mine.

In the haze of finals and other things keeping me busy, a ton of new albums have been released/leaked.  Perhaps the one I’ve been most excited for is High Violet, The National’s follow-up to Boxer, which still stands as one of my favorite albums.  I’m only a few listens deep, but my initial reaction is that it’s certainly a solid album.  It would be greedy to ask for another Boxer, which High Violet isn’t.  The new album certainly has some similarities to the old, sometimes sounding like the band has some sort of album formula that it enacts on its songs.  There’s the upbeat-guitar-driven song, followed by the slow-sad-piano song, leading to the bass-driven-vocal track and on and on.  Not that that’s a horrible thing.  If you like The National’s sound, you’ll like this album, and I certainly do.  I can’t imagine not liking anything that contains Matt Berninger’s voice.  Listen to “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” because that’s all they’ll let me link to:

I was also very excited for the new Band of Horses album, Infinite Arms.  As sometimes happens when hopes are high, I was very disappointed.  As one comment I saw put it, the band has ventured further to the ‘beard side’ with this album.

Beards: not always a good thing.

Though I loved both of Band of Horses first albums, I found it hard to listen to their newest effort.  After struggling through the first listen, I haven’t gone back for another.  Perhaps it’ll grow on me, but for now I’ll stick to Cease to Begin and Everything All the Time.  Up until now the band, replete with beards if you haven’t guessed, has balanced their bearded country roots with rock in a deliciously listenable way.  Now, that balance is all gone, leaving Infinite Arms lacking the edge that made their previous albums great.  When they seemingly try to regain that edge, the band comes off sounding like Rooney.  Have a listen for yourself, and tell me that this isn’t a Rooney song.

Oh shit you can’t listen cause I got yelled at!

I like Rooney and everything, but this song doesn’t belong.  I leave you with this download link, and a recommendation to approach with caution.  Oh shit no I don’t cause I got yelled at!  Don’t worry, it’s probably for the best.

Stretch Armstrong misses the mark

Foals’ Antidotes was a recent discovery of mine that left me wondering how I had missed out on it for so long.  Luckily for me, soon after my discovery, I learned that Total Life Forever, Foals’ sophomore effort, was due out soon.  I put off listening to it for a while for reasons I’m not really sure of, but upon finally listening to it I was pleasantly satisfied.  A perfect progression from Antidotes, the new album is very rewarding for the patient listener.  There’s not really much to say other than download it already.  It’s sure to be on many Album of the Year lists, unless the fall brings some kind of crazy musical apocalypse (in a good way).  Here’s “Spanish Sahara:”

Download Total Life Forever

Broken Social Scene files into the studio

Broken Social Scene finally has released a proper album, after having their fun with the “Broken Social Scene Presents…” series.  Entitled Forgiveness Rock Record, it’s not very different from the sound that everyone has come to expect from them.  There’s nothing surprising about it, other than the fact that they have trimmed the list of official band members from over 15 to 7.  I can’t say that I like it any better than their other studio efforts, which isn’t saying much because I love Broken Social Scene and You Forgot it in People a whole lot.  At the very very least, Forgiveness Rock Record is very good, something that I’ve come to expect from BSS.  They’ve certainly set a high standard with their previous work in the studio, including the “BSS Presents…” series, and this lives up to that standard.  That being said, I don’t think it will be replacing any of their older efforts in my heart, but it’s very well-done and only adds to the great body of work that Broken Social Scene has created.

Download Forgiveness Rock Record

B.o.B./Bobby Ray wondering who he is

I’ve never understood the need for artists to create alter egos for themselves.  Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce routine just seemed silly.  Giving herself a porn star’s name and staying the same otherwise?  OK, whatever you want.  (When googling for the spelling of Sasha, I came across this which was a good laugh.)  Anyway, In the case of B.o.B./Bobby Ray Simmons, the discrepancy actually makes sense.  B.o.B. successfully bridges the gap between rap, pop, folk, and a number of other genres in The Adventures of Bobby Ray.  My guess is B.o.B. is the rapper while Bobby Ray plays the pop songs.  Bobby Ray just doesn’t seem like a name that would go over so well in the ‘hood.  Be it B.o.B. or Bobby Ray singing, the album is very listenable, especially in a summer setting.  T.I. is listed as a producer, which is certainly a good endorsement to have if you’re Bobby Ray.  Although I get a little annoyed at lyrics that continually talk about B.o.B./Bobby Ray and the confusion at who is really singing, it’s impossible to be mad after hearing some of the hooks on the album.  The discussion of B.oB./Bobby Ray is even more prevalent on one of his mixtapes, entitled B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray. That’s not a joke.  As for the music, I definitely can hear a little of John Legend in Bobby Ray’s voice on the first song, “Don’t Let Me Fall.”  I’ve wanted to give the whole album a few more listens through, but I find myself never getting past the second track and putting it on repeat.  Listen to “Nothin’ on You,” featuring Bruno Mars:

Download The Adventures of Bobby Ray

That’s all for now, until the next time I’m bombarded with highly-anticipated leaks during the busiest week of my year.  Next up is a youtube treasure trove of impromptu performances by some awesome people.

P.S. Go Flyers!

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