{fv_addthis}

Latest Blog Posts

by Kirstie Shanley

30 Sep 2009

Creating a live performance full of win, French-Finnish duo The Dø could have easily entertained an audience of thousands.  Olivia Merilahti was electricity personified.  Flipping her long lustrous hair, coming up to the tip on the stage and leaning into the audience were two of her frequent rock moves.  Dan Levy chose to engage the audience with his sudden floor kneeling.  But despite the sense of developed chemistry between he and Merilahti, it was she who truly stole the show.

It’s both an interesting and unusual combination for a band to be part French and part Finnish, though it worked for folk band Mi and L’au.  The Dø have a much different performing ethos than that duo, however, with a live sound deeply rooted in pop and rock.  In concert Merilahti’s lyrical delivery came off similar to the album, for the most part, but with an emphasis on the faster-paced songs overall.  She could easily play to the most enticing melodies and riffs while keeping her lyrics perfectly on target.  The presence of a live drummer maintaining a fantastic sense of timing throughout also helped.

On their 2008 album,  A Mouthful, a visceral shift in moods occurs over its 15 songs—even among the singles.  While songs like “Tammie” and “Aha” have an energetic drive to them, “On My Shoulders” is as melancholic as it is beautiful.  “Song For Lovers,” “Searching Gold,” and “When Was I Last Home” are simply sentimental songs rather than dance tracks.  Making the album increasingly diverse, it ends on a very raw and turbulent note with “In My Box,” which serves as a stark contrast between both the more stripped down intimate songs and those that feel like instant pop hits.

The Dø’s nearly hour-long set began like their album does with the aptly named “Playground Hustle.”  Some of the samples in that song, as well as “Queen Dot Kong,” seem reminiscent of those used by Solex from The Netherlands and certainly add to the flirty appeal of both tracks.  In contrast, “At Last!” was full of vivid longing, especially the way Merilahti tends to emphasize her words. 

By the third song the band abandoned the album order, switching to “The Bridge is Broken” which came off as an edgy lament.  “On My Shoulders” had a similar tone as Merilahti repeatedly asked, “Why would I carry such a weight on my shoulders? Why do I always help you carry your boulders?”  It’s impossible not to hear her cry without sympathizing.  Her accent, and the way she stretches out certain syllables over others, tends to make her sound even more tortured and anguished. 

Perhaps the best song of the night was the one not sung in English: “Unissasi Laulelet.”  It contained guitar parts memorable enough to match Merilahti’s wondrous vocals.  It’s undeniable how well the band kept up their presence and energy throughout the set no matter what they were playing—a night that, at times, felt as rough as it did playful.  Dangerous mood swings would be more common at The Dø’s shows if they just weren’t so satisfying to relish in every minute.

by Jennifer Cooke

30 Sep 2009

Every few years I wonder “What ever happened to Alice Donut?” The Brooklyn band has been around since 1986, putting out 12 albums and countless singles while it did what all good punk bands did back then—toured its ass off all over the world. Led by vocalist Tomas Antona, the band has spent the majority of its career on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label, and if any band could personify Biafra’s off-kilter take on music and the world in general, it would be Alice Donut. Just look at some of their album titles: Dork Me Bangladesh, The Untidy Suicides of Your Degenerate Children. Over a decade before emo made the mile-long song title faddish, Alice Donut gave us a little ditty called “The Son of a Disgruntled X-Postal Worker Reflects on His Life While Getting Stoned in the Parking Lot of a Winn Dixie Listening to Metallica”. (Take that, Fall Out Boy!) If Alice Donut didn’t exist, Snakefinger from the Residents would have had to invent them. And they’re back with a new CD, Ten Glorious Animals.

After a long hiatus following their 1996 breakup, the band reformed to release Three Sisters in 2004 and Fuzz in 2006. They occupy that murky grey area of one of those stalwart bands with no real commercial success in over two decades of playing, but sufficient fans dotting the globe to make it worthwhile to persevere. It is a subject that plays out in their lyrics, as Antona and his band mates wryly accept their lot in life on the track “Shiloh”: “Gonna get famous and rich / Got a gig with the Unsane / And 7 Year Bitch.” They know they aren’t going to be the next Green Day, and they’re cool with that. As guitarist Michael Jung said in a 2007 interview, “We weren’t in search of hand jobs or castles. There’s all kinds of popular success. Look at Tom Waits.”

by Thomas Hauner

29 Sep 2009

Bebel Gilberto, the daughter of bossa nova, literally (her father is João Gilberto,) performed an intimate and kittenish early set at The Box to celebrate the release of her tenth studio album, All in One.  While much of the setlist dutifully revolved around the new material (“Bim Bom,” “Cancao de Amor,” and “The Real Thing”) Gilberto indulged fans with hits from Tanto Tempo, like “So Nice” and “Samba de Bencao.”  It was, after all, an evening “only for the really close ones” as Bebel put it.  In between doting on her fans and praising her four-piece backing band Gilberto relished the role of sultry siren, inspired, no doubt, by the venue’s alternate use as a burlesque club.  As the double entendres multiplied, Gilberto had the crowd in the palm of her hand by the time she sang her new single, “Chica Chica Boom Chic.”  Despite her flirtatious tone Gilberto’s voice was calm, controlled, and plush, epitomizing the very delicate yet relaxed precision of bossa nova itself.

by Tyler Gould

29 Sep 2009

Kings of Convenience
Declaration of Dependence
(Virgin)
Releasing: 20 October

It’s been five years since the last Kings of Convenience album, but Declaration of Dependence is almost upon us, preceding its arrival with a new (non-embeddable) video for the breezy, bossa nova “Mrs Cold” and a slightly-less-new video for “Boat Behind”.

SONG LIST
01 24 To 25
02 Mrs Cold
03 Me In You
04 Boat Behind
05 Rule My World
06 My Ship Isn’t Pretty
07 Renegade
08 Power Of Not Knowing
09 Peacetime Resistance
10 Freedom And Its Owner
11 Riot On An Empty Street
12 Second To Numb
13 Scars On Land

by Zach Schwartz

29 Sep 2009

French alt rockers Phoenix played an excellent set in Central Park on Friday night.  The sold out crowd enjoyed Passion Pit, but went bonkers for Phoenix, though perhaps the high school kids were just drunker for the second act.  Either way, Phoenix brought gobs of energy, with some interesting twists on their familiar material, and enough of a light/smoke show to entertain the (tone) deaf.  Despite touring so much, the band seemed to have fun too, with Thomas Mars climbing speakers and lunging deep into the crowd.  I highly recommend seeing them live.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

U2's 'The Joshua Tree' Tour Reminds the Audience of their Politics

// Notes from the Road

"The Joshua Tree tour highlights U2's classic album with an epic and unforgettable new experience.

READ the article