a simpler sound.

Support Live Music: Fall 2012.

In an age where iTunes and Pandora and Spotify reign supreme, it's so easy to forget to support live music.  But there's just no substitution for it.  I could see the same band a hundred times [see the band above*] and each set is its own entity; completely independent from their recorded album.

The beauty of live music is how unpredictable it is: the band tries out a new, unrecorded song for the first time; they decide to play one of their favorite covers [and of course you LOVE that song]; one of their friends from another band is in town and jumps on stage to do an impromptu collaboration; the power kicks out and they decide to play the rest of the night acoustic; the entire show [openers and even some roadies] get on the stage with all their instruments and jam; they play that one song, [and they NEVER play that song] the song that makes your heart ache. You can't get that on the internet.  Watching a Youtube video won't suffice; you need to be there.

The mark of a really great show was always measured by how hard my ears were ringing and the bruises I got from being front and center.  I might be a little older [and hopefully wiser], but I miss those days of getting knocked around, feeling every fiber of the music in my head and my heart.

So speaking of live music...

It's a good thing I decided to get the fall concert list started early, since there are so many great bands making their way to Atlanta much sooner than I thought.  For some of these shows I actually don't know the bands too well, but gave them a preview and they sound promising.  Others are a MUST go, so I'll be busy the next few months. I miss the days when I got tickets to shows for free.  Gone are the days when I could go to shows three or four nights a week.  Now I'll just have to settle for one or two :)

On a more random note: In making this list, I found a band called Snarky Puppy.  I'm mentioning them for no other reason than their name is Snarky Puppy.  It's the little things.  Other gems include: Spanky and the Love Handles and Puffy Areolas.  I couldn't make this up if I tried. 

'Fall' 2012 Upcoming Shows: 

The Dangerous Summer, The Rouge, From Indian Lakes 8/7
Strung Out 9/18 
Music Midtown [Foo Fighters, The Avett Brothers, Florence + The Machine, LUDACRIS, Neon Trees, Garbage and more] 9/21-9/22
The Shins 10/8
Matt & Kim 10/12
Grouplove 10/16
Lagwagon 10/26
Yellowcard 11/12
Morrissey 12/3

*One of my favorite concert photos: I took this of Brand New at Starland Ballroom, June 20th, 2006  

Someone please tell them to release a new album and tour in Atlanta.  Or just play their old stuff live; that would more than suffice :)

New Music Mixtape: July Releases.

I was M.I.A. [missing in Aruba? Alaska? yes.] for a good chunk of July, so I wasn't keeping up with the latest Alternative releases, but I still managed to pull things together right at the end of the month.  A lot of these tracks are singles for some upcoming albums [all of which I'm really looking forward to] so there's a good mix in here. I also started working on my concert list, which usually doesn't start until the fall, but there are a few good shows coming up.  I'll list them here soon. 

1. Sleep Alone - Two Door Cinema Club [still has that dance-y vibe I love about TDCC, but with a tinge of sadness...I wonder if the rest of the album will follow suit..]

2. Sky Blue & Ivory - Torches [I immediately think of some kind of mashup of TV on the Radio and Bloc Party when I heard them for the first time]

3. If Only You Knew - An Atlas to Follow [I love the way their voices meld together- simple and pretty]

4. My Only Hope - Illusion of Self [has that gritty, raw Strokes-sound, great debut album from this band - buy this one]

5. Angels - The xx [this band has that hauntingly beautiful sound down to a science, this new single being no different...I've been looking forward to this album for a long time- can't wait!]

6. Age of Ignorance - Our Last Night [their sound is so familiar; very much like what I listened to in high school- a less throaty Thrice or even a little like Story of the Year..]

7. Fame > Demise [Acoustic] - Woe Is Me [after sifting through the thrashing and screaming on this album, I found a really nice vocal on this track- for some reason I love when hardcore bands sing pretty songs [albeit a little whiny, but that's okay by me] like this]

8. Come Together [Beatles cover] - Arctic Monkeys [I was watching the opening ceremonies of the XXX London Olympics last Friday, and I was so impressed by this cover. I knew they were a great band, but they really did The Beatles justice on this one]

9. Settle Down - No Doubt [this is their first release as a band in 11 YEARS, and I was secretly hoping for a return to their Tragic Kingdom roots, but I'll settle for this. I really like the first half of this song, and then it trails off a little for me- but I'd be a fool if I didn't represent the band I grew up with]

10. The Way It Is - The Sheepdogs [their sound definitely rides on the coattails of The Black Keys, but there aren't many other coattails I'd hitch a ride on]

11. Perfectly Aligned - Milo Greene [I've been looking forward to their full length release for a long time, and I HATE that I was out of town when they came to Atlanta a couple weeks back.  This track is so clean and really showcases how perfectly in sync the band is vocally]

12. The Crystal Text - Young Moon [no vocals on this track, but the open picking on the electric evokes its own melancholic voice, much like Explosions in the Sky]

Photo: Illusion of Self

bands to keep your eye on: milo greene [a concert and EP review].

I saw Milo Greene back in November when they opened for The Civil Wars at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. From top to bottom, that was one of the absolute best [yes, it deserves the double superlative!] concerts I've ever been to.  Although much of that status had to do with The Civil Wars putting on an impeccably moving performance, I left that show discovering a new band that would soon become another favorite of mine.  

I honestly don't know much about Milo Greene, other than that they're based out of Los Angeles, since I recall them mentioning that at the concert. Apart from really enjoying their soothing sound, I was so impressed by the vocal abilities of every member of the band, as well as their individual instrumental prowess.  With every song, the entire band would perform a sort of 'ring-around-the-rosie' dance, almost seeming as if they could grab any instrument on the stage and perform in perfect pitch together. This created such an organic performance, with each song taking on a varied style and tone. They played quite a few songs, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe they were officially signed to a label, and were still producing an EP themselves specifically for The Civil Wars tour.  I was able to snag a copy and chat with who I believe was the bassist [but with the tossing around of instruments, it was hard to tell!].

The EP has only three songs, two of which have been very recently released as singles on iTunes.

1. 1957: This song was just released as a single the other week. This is their most upbeat song on the EP and has a great melodic quality to it. I love the tapping of the drumsticks [at least I think that's what the sound is, I could be wrong...] throughout the song. Love these lyrics:

'the scent you wear moves in lines 
from your apartment into mine 
you act like you don't know me 
my god you tempt my anxious mind'

2. Silent Way: This song is my favorite on the EP for so many reasons.  For one thing, for a girl who doesn't love country music, I'm a sucker for the plucking of a banjo. It melds so perfectly with the piano. The slow, melodic pace has a repetition that I really like.  It's mimicked in the lyrics,

'when, when, when we're older
can I still come over?'

The song, whether it actually carries this meaning or not, reminds me of being a kid and how easy it was. I'd just go to a friend's house and we'd make up random, ridiculous games that almost always involved an obstacle course [Legends of the Hidden Temple was my FAVORITE show during this phase].  That might be a slight tangent, but essentially, I just loved how easy it was to have friends and have fun with life.  The lyrics make me think of little Jo, asking her best friend that when they're older can it still be the same, simple friendship they always had.  When you get older, things change and get so complicated. I wish it were as simple as this song, but it's not.

3. Don't You Give Up On Me: I posted a great quality live performance of this song at the top.  The song was actually featured on Grey's Anatomy recently. It has the most commercial quality of the three, and I can see it being used again in anther show or movie. I don't mean that as a negative in any way.  I've found so many great artists on TV shows [my secret dream job has been to be the person who chooses music for movies and TV- I'd LOVE that entirely too much]. It's just such a sweet song:

'I'll go, I'll go, I'll go wherever you go
I would never leave without letting you know'

This EP is my go-to driving CD, because I can listen to it over and over without ever getting tired of it. I sing to it all the time and since I rarely allow people to hear me legitimately try and sing, the car is a perfect venue for my performances. It's also got that great quality that makes driving seem leisurely and enjoyable, and calms my ever percolating road rage [I'm really a very calm, relaxed person- but my inner New York resurfaces every so often...!].

The Milo Greene full-length album has a release date set for July 17th, and they'll be heading to Atlanta shortly after on the 21st.  They're playing at the Drunken Unicorn, which is stumbling distance from my house, and I CAN'T wait to see them.  I'd love to invite them over to my house after the show to hang out and drink on my porch. They just seem like the kind of people I'd be friends with anyhow.