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by Tyler Gould

19 Oct 2009

This video could have taken all of twenty minutes to film, but everyone looks to be enjoying themselves. It’d be hard not to, the song being of the infectious sort that you sing in your head with made-up lyrics for days before you learn the real ones. “When We Swam” is from Know Better Learn Faster.

by Lara Killian

19 Oct 2009

The Gargoyle is a brutal story about a man terribly disfigured in a car crash, burned to an almost unrecognizable crisp following an alcohol and cocaine binge. Incongruously, it’s also about timeless love.

The nameless narrator may have been burned beyond recognition, but Maryanne Engel knows him. They’ve never met before, at least that he can remember, but she finds him in his recovery room and helps nurse him back to health through endless skin grafting, morphine doses, and physical therapy.

Maryanne is many things—an artist, a sculptor, a storyteller, a fantastic cook, and a tattooed schizophrenic. As Maryanne helps the narrator overcome his inclinations toward suicide and substance abuse, she gradually fills him in on their past romances. Davidson’s story mixes violence in the present with destruction in the past, conveying the intense connection that Maryanne feels about the man she perceives as her soulmate.

At times jarring, at times hopeless, at times saturated with a sense of inevitability, Maryanne’s stories are captivating and the narrator finds himself thoroughly dependent on her. Until, inevitably, the tables are turned and the narrator finds he must take care of Maryanne, trying everything he can think of to pull her out of her own spiral toward self-destruction. Davidson’s debut novel is a riveting page-turner. I’m hoping he’s hard at work on something equally fascinating.

by Alan Ranta

19 Oct 2009

Deru
Say Goodbye to Useless
(Mush)
Releasing: 23 February

“Peanut Butter & Patience”, the first single from Deru’s third full-length release, is a doozy, contrasting sharp percussion with creepy, ambient electronic sounds. It belongs on a Samurai Champloo soundtrack. Say Goodbye to Useless is going to blow up 2010. Watch for it when it drops on February 23rd.

SONG LIST
01 I Would Like
02 I Want
03 Peanut Butter & Patience
04 Hello
05 Basically, Fuck You
06 Walk
07 Fadeaway
08 Days, Then…
09 What Happens When You Ask
10 Cottonmouth Lothario
11 Goodbye

by Katharine Wray

19 Oct 2009

Brilliant Colors
Introducing
(Slumberland )
Releasing: 3 November

New music, new genres. Every band sounds vaguely like some other band. Terms like electro-rock-hop and pop-grunge-dance are now used to define bands. For Brilliant Colors, we’ll just stick with lo-fi. “English Cities”, the first single off their romp of a debut album, is a rush of guitars, drums, and hairspray.

SONG LIST
01 I Searched
02 Absolutely Anything
03 English Cities
04 Yell in the Air
05 You Say You Want
06 Over There
07 Mythic
08 Short Sleeves at Night
09 Motherland
10 Should I Tell You

Brilliant Colors
English Cities [MP3]     

by Kirstie Shanley

19 Oct 2009

This is one duo whose music is equally as interesting as their story.  Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero began in Mexico City and traveled to Ireland to make their way in music.  From busking to officially breaking into the music scene, they garnered a following devoted enough to guarantee their success.  Selling out Chicago’s Riviera Theater was no shock for what are now accomplished musicians, but what may have been surprising is the utter joy that accompanied their obvious talent.

Like fellow musician José González, Rodrigo y Gabriela are incredibly proficient in guitar, capable of performing with daunting layers of intricacy.  Unlike González, however, you get a much fuller sense of personality with Rodrigo y Gabriela, which makes their performance richly entertaining and more complete.  Often, Gabriela seemed blissful while Rodrigo kneeled to play or went out to the lip of the stage.

What all three musicians have in common though is how thrilling it is to watch their fingers move on their guitars.  For those in the back, or in the balcony, who weren’t able to see, these motions were emphasized with large silhouetted visuals behind the pair, making for a vivid visual setting.  Needless to say, they also showed a great sense of chemistry between them, with Gabriela often looking at Rodrigo intently or with a lovely smile.  No doubt this connection helps keep their guitar rhythms so accurate.


Rodrigo y Gabriela draw from an eclectic array of songs to construct both covers and medleys of various recognizable guitar riffs.  The pair has been called by some “Flamenco Metal,” which does partially describe their sound.  Their 100-minute long set felt fluid and dynamic, each song rushing into another seamlessly and with very little banter.  The prominent riff from The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” got some applause early on.  From classical music to metal, it was also heartening to see such a diverse crowd enjoying an equally diverse set of musical references.


Overall, their set weighed most heavily on their third release, 2009’s 11:11, which was very well received by their fans.  When Rodrigo announced that they’d be focusing on playing songs from this album, he got an enthusiastic response.  The most exciting surprise of the night, however, was when they brought out Metallica’s current bass player, Robert Trujillo, to perform “Orion” with them as a trio.  He helped elevate the song to epic proportions.  Rodrigo’s use of a beer bottle for a slide also succeeded in creating a spooky sort of effect.

The sold out crowd was active throughout the night, spontaneously clapping and dancing as the group’s dexterity created a landscape of sound that often evolved from gentle musings to intense anthems.  It was easy to feel that their proficient renditions were complete even without the well known vocals that originally accompanied many of the songs.  Rewarding the crowd with an encore that included Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” they brought the night to a satisfying conclusion. 

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