Port O’Brien

After watching Radiohead tickets sell out in about -.09554 seconds, a new band began playing in my shuffled iTunes. I was planning on posting on these Northern folksters – but hearing their songs reminded me to do it now.

Port O’Brien started, as essentially, the one-man act of Van Pierszalowski. When chatting with Van about his music, I asked him to briefly describe himself and provide a short history.

“Port O’Brien is the musical project of Van Pierszalowski, who is an awkward looking Polish 21-year old. His father is a commercial salmon fisherman who works on Kodiak Island in Alaska. Van spends his summers up there working. On the boat, they stay for many months at a time with no shower and no toilets (the answer to your question is a bucket).”

Since the start of his project in January 2005, he’s added a few members here and there including some delightful female vocal chords.

“Cambria Goodwin makes it easier to watch Van perform because she is pretty (which Van isn’t) and well-groomed (which Van definitely isn’t) and looks like Snow White (which Van onced dressed up as in 3rd grade only to be called ‘ugly’ and ‘gay’).”

[MP3] Port O’BrienMy Eyes Won’t Shut
[MP3] Port O’BrienTree Bones
[MP3] Port O’BrienA Bird Flies By

They may remind you of a darker Decemberists sound with their emphasis on strings and folkish ballad style of lyrics. The project is still young and very local, but after another summer on a boat in the Alaskan sea.. it’ll be interesting to see how their sound develops in the coming months.

Oh! Sweet Jesus!

I am not sure who to believe on this one. Given the choice, would you believe a Swedish group that look like a 70s glam band or an energized guitar act off the streets of NYC?

One group, The Ark, are saying that “One Of Us Is Gonna Die Young.” While the other group, The Favourite Sons, are claiming that, “No One Ever Dies Young.” Pulling from my already established knowledge of the subject, I can only assume they’re talking about good people (see Billy Joel for detail). Another thing that I can conclude is that both bands have produced some good death related tracks.

The Ark hail from Sweden and have been making music since the early 90s, although not breaking through until 10 years later. They had received mediocre reviews for most of their careers and had trouble escaping the musical binding continent of Europe. Like many bands they decided to take a break for a few years. Between breaking up and reuniting – they’re music has gotten a lot better and they’re getting airplay on smaller American stations and one of the 3495839 mTV channels. Not bad, eh?

The Favourite Sons, on the other hand, are straight out of the musical fetus. In fact, they’ve been kicking and punching themselves out of the womb for the past year or so. Recording a song here and an EP there wasn’t enough to satiate they’re musical palates. They’re hanging out in NYC right now, after some touring gigs with The Stills, recording they’re debut LP.

And Billy Joel is from heaven – who plays the piano like a drunken cherub and writes songs on a cloud (number nine).

[MP3] The ArkOne Of Us Is Gonna Die Young
[MP3] The Favourite SonsNo One Ever Dies Young
[MP3] Billy JoelOnly The Good Die Young

So, who to believe? The Ark? The Favourite Sons? Billy Joel?

I like the other two songs a ton but… I’m sticking with the Piano Man for the simple fact that he coined the phrase that spawned so many other songs. And he’s awesome. And he’s hatched from the same egg as The Beatles, Mozart, and Bob Dylan. Rock on William.

What is there to say about Jason Anderson?
This guy is just awesome.

Once playing under the alias Wolf Colonel, Jason Anderson brings a dose of raw guitar and untapped energy to the table. Aside from his knack of making great music, Jason Anderson is a human being that is almost too nice to be a musician. He loves playing music more than anything and his live shows really convey that. At his live shows, he acts like the center of the universe as the planets crowd circle around him.

And when you’re the sun you don’t need amps or mics to get your point across. Just Jason and the crowd that swallows him up. The crowd sings along, even if they didn’t know the song prior to the set. A circle forms around him as if there was a high school fight and everyone is watching- chanting for who they want to get their ass kicked except they’re chanting for Jason to kick the guitars ass. Anderson is passion filled and wide-eyed as he sings songs about love, happiness, and life. In between songs he’ll interject thoughts of reason, speak on the behalf of civil rights, guided patriotism, and environmentalism. He’ll allude to the mistaken concept of choosing titles, to be left sided or right sided, rather he chose, simply to be.

[MP3] Jason AndersonThe Hospital
[MP3] Jason AndersonAstronaut, Astronaut
[MP3] Jason AndersonIf I’m Waiting

This guy is a treat to see live – I can guarantee you’ll like him. He’s the sort of guy that will make you smirk on a CD and grin ear-to-ear when you see him in concert. Buy one of his many CD and go watch him play anywhere from coffee shops to libraries. You have a better idea for a venue? Just ask him to play it and he will. Seriously.

I wonder what the coolest/weirdest place to play a show would be?

Summer Is Here!

Summer is here, for me. Finals are over and I don’t even want to look back at the damage I may have caused to the city of GPA. To paraphrase Eric Cartman, “Schools out guys, I’m going home.”

I’m officially back at the Nathaniel Estate and have a TON of material to sift through. There are enough bubble-clad manila envelopes here to float a family of four from Cuba to Florida. It may seem like a daunting task but I, for one, am excited to give them a listen and see what I think of em’ all. Anyways, since my summer started I decided to post a few songs that are all about the awesomeness of summer.

[MP3] The Flaming LipsIt’s Summertime
Complete with birds chirping in the background- Wayne and Company singing about summer seems to make the sun shine that much brighter.

[MP3] Modest MouseUntitled #3 (Summer)
With a line like, “Just the smell of the summer can make me fall in love” I have to think that Isaac Brock could be capable of pulling a Vivaldi and composing some genius Four Season ballads. “Dance dance dance and go crazy!”

[MP3] HanaleiThis Is Going To Be The Best Summer Ever
Any summer is the best summer ever. Wait, what? Radiohead, Modest Mouse, and The Shins have new albums coming out? Ok Hanalei, you win.

[MP3] Jens LekmanA Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill
What do the Swedish know about summertime? One needs to look no further than Jens Lekman to hear his brassy take on that sweet summertime feeling.

[MP3] The Fiery FurnacesHere Comes The Summer
I am not sure if they meant to correlatee “waiting” and “summer” in this song, but it seems like people are always waiting on summer for some reason. I’d say people wait on summer more than Christmas. Except Jesus because its his birthday.

[MP3] GrandaddySummer Here Kids
Grandaddy breaking up was a pretty devastating blow to their genre of music. These guys are really talented and this is the first song I think of every time someone says summer.

[MP3] The Fire TheftSummertime
Jeremy Enigk is a quirky guy that makes some damn good music, both solo and with a band. I’m beginning to think that he has a fetish with summer. Summertime? Sunny Day Real Estate?

[MP3] LFOSummer Girls
As soon as I made this post- someone left a comment recommending I add this song to the list. I don’t know what I was thinking. Leaving off LFO? Finals obviously took their toll.. I’m really starting to lose it.

Question: What are the top three things that come to mind when you think about summer?

These answers should be rather interesting. I’m going to unpack all my crap and be back tomorrow with some new stuff.

Today was a pretty awesome day in terms of Pitchfork lining up with my hopes and expectations. You know, for all the smug reviews they peddle, the sweet moments like these just seem to make everything ok. They rounded out the edges nicely today in a number of ways:

1. Spencer and his Sunset Rubdown project nailed a Best New Music! It seems like Mr. Krug can’t be stopped these past couple years, with BNM honors for last year’s Wolf Parade debut and now he “wins” again for Shut Up I Am Dreaming! If you haven’t heard anything from Sunset Rubdown’s turf, check this out:

[MP3] Sunset RubdownThey Took A Vote And Said No
[MP3] Sunset RubdownStadiums And Shrines II

2. iGIF favorite Beirut picked up a great track review (4.5 stars!) today for the same exact track I raved about just a few days ago! It’s a brilliant song, and if this is any indication, Zach Condon will be the next Owen Pallett.

[MP3] BeirutPostcards From Italy
[MP3] BeirutThe Canals Of Our City

3. Another iGIF favorite and Pitchfork writer Cadence Weapon picked up a great review today, an 8.0, for Breaking Kayfabe, one of the best hip-hop releases of the year without a doubt. Check out these tracks, I’ll have more for you later!

[MP3] Cadence WeaponOliver Square
[MP3] Cadence WeaponBlack Hand

So I guess this makes up for Pitchfork’s neglect to give Final Fantasy a BNM nod yesterday… tisk tisk