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Lowry – Love Is Dead

So, apologies for the decline in posts around these parts lately. It’s been a hectic few months. Actually, scratch that… it’s been a hectic year, and posting sometimes fell by the wayside. So you know it had to be something special to bring me out of that unintentional hiatus, right?

Well, it is. Something special, I mean. Thanks first go to Melissa from EngineRoom Recordings, for sending me a whole bundle of goodness. I’m still working through the albums she sent, but the first one I popped in, Lowry’s “Love Is Dead” album is, quite simply, gorgeous.


Lowry apparently originally started as a band going after an experimental Americana sound, but then evolved into a “cinematic form” of rock music. Well, that’s what the press release says. But, really, what does that mean, in the end? It means that Lowry are one of those bands that music bloggers love to hear, but hate to write about… because they encompass so much in their music. There’s a bit of pop in there, a bit of indie (with some hints of Phoenix here and there… don’t ask me why, but something about it reminds me of those times), a bit of electro, and the aforementioned Americana. The music is a landscape that is constantly shifting and flowing.

The end result is a CD that I’ve been spinning pretty much non stop this past week. While the album is pretty much strong all the way through, right off the bat from opener “Whiskey”, it’s with songs like “Wicked Witch Of Bushwick” and the close-on-eight-minute track, “Down”, with that simply heart-breaking outro, that Lowry seem to be at their best. There’s a fragility there that, at times, recalls Elliot Smith’s whispered dulcet tones.

Yeah. In other words, it’s a good thing.

Anyway, I’ve included two tracks below as a taster. If you like what you hear, then visit their Myspace page to keep updated on any upcoming shows.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Lowry – Whiskey
Listen: Lowry – Down

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Easily the coolest thing I’ve seen today: Rivers Cuomo, “Can’t Stop Partying”

In fact, I’m calling it quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve seen all month. Rivers Cuomo stopped by Stereogum late last year to appear on their “Decomposed Acoustic” sessions… and man, is it awesome.
Never one to do things by the book, Rivers brought along some guests. As Stereogum says:

A few weeks ago he put out a call for a pianist and an a cappella group to help decompose some tunes for us. Along with those folks, he brought a pretty enthusiastic up-and-comer named Jermaine Dupri (!). Throw in a cowboy flutist and three tunes from Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (including a Beach Boys cover) and you have a Rivers-sized holiday spectacle.

The session unfolds in three parts: first there’s “I Was Scared,” on which Cuomo’s joined by his hand-selected pianist Sonya Lee and five members of the Dartmouth Aires, an a cappella group from Dartmouth College. For the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby,” Rivers goes sans piano and full-on a cappella with the Dartmouth quintet on backing harmonies. And then there’s the grand jam of “Can’t Stop Partying,” which features five acoustic guitarists and three percussionists (from bands Crash Kings, Alkaline Trio, Yellowcard, Melee, Reeve Oliver and Ozma), big-hatted flutist Greg Vail, and Mr. Dupri. Fresh for ’08.

And here it is… the coolest thing you’ll see all day, Rivers Cuomo and Co. singing “Can’t Stop Partying”.

Head here to watch the rest of the sessions.

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Coldplay, live at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre

On Sunday night, I was lucky enough to see “superband”, Coldplay, perform live at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

Now, I’m going to throw this right out there. Even when uber-popular music blogs like Stereogum feature bands like Coldplay, there always seems to be a massive backlash from the “Hipster Runoff” type kids. The ones who don’t think it’s cool to like a mainstream band like Coldplay. To any of you reading this who might be feeling the same way…

Wake Up.

Coldplay performing live was one of the most amazing gigs I’ve been to. Sure, it may not have the intimacy factor that a gig with Bon Iver might have, but Coldplay know how to bring the raw entertainment factor like no other band. The sheer spectacle of seeing their stage set up, the stadium fist pumping stage sprinting… man, it’s hard to beat.

Coldplay performing “Yellow” live at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. The videos included in this blog entry weren’t taken by yours truly, as he didn’t take a camera with him… so thanks to whoever took the two clips embedded here. Watch out for Chris popping one of the yellow balloons with this guitar.

The band themselves were in fine spirits, and really had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand. Much as I wrote back when featuring their live set from the Brixton Academy, Coldplay instill this sense of playfulness to their live shows that somehow manages to deconstruct that image of them being this untouchable stadium band.

In fact, in one of the (many) highlights of the night, the band marched off stage and climbed high into the audience, to a small rafter set up that barely had space for all four of them to stand comfortably. From here they performed the Will Champion led, “Death Will Never Conquer”, and “I’m A Believer”. As Chris Martin said:

“What we’re doing here is breaking down that… that suspension of disbelief that happens with the band being so far away. We want you to see that we’re here too… spots and wrinkles and all. Deep down, beyond all of this, this is what we are a heart: a pub band”

It was a great statement from a band who obviously realises exactly what they’ve become; a band so huge, so massive that they’ve almost become a myth. While that was always inevitable, they’ve retained their roots in a manner that other bands would be hard pressed to do.

Coldplay performing “Fix It”, live at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Thanks again to the taper. Chris changed up the lyrics to “”When you’re high up above or down below, when you’re sitting miles away from the band at a Coldplay show” as a nod to those of us who had to sit miles from the band. After that, it felt like they were sitting right in front of you.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to take a camera, so I don’t have any shots of the night, and I didn’t take any notes, so I can’t give a song by song review. It wasn’t that type of gig. It was a gig where you simply had to sit back and marvel at the splendour of the night. That said, here’s a set list of their show, for those who are interested:

Coldplay, live at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 8 March 2009 Setlist

Life In Technicolor
Violet Hill
In My Place
Yellow / You’re The Voice (John Farnham cover)
Glass Of Water
Cemeteries Of London
Fix You
Strawberry Swing
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face (techno version)
Talk (techno version)
The Hardest Part (Chris piano, Will)
Postcards From Far Away (piano instrumental)
Viva La Vida
Green Eyes (acoustic)
I’m A Believer (acoustic)
Death Will Never Conquer (acoustic – Will vocals)
Viva La Vida (remix interlude)
Lovers In Japan
Death And All His Friends
The Scientist
Life in Technicolor ii
The Escapist (outro)

All I can say, after that night?

Freaking Awesome. Thanks, Coldplay boys, for giving us a night to remember.

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Ray Lamontagne, live on “Saturday Night Live”

This past weekend, Ray Lamontagne performed “You Are The Best Thing” and “Trouble”, live on SNL.

Posting the videos here… because… well… simply because both performances are FREAKING AWESOME. ‘Nuff Said.

Ray Lamontagne, “You Are The Best Thing”, live on SNL

Ray Lamontagne, “Trouble”, live on SNL