Did you know there's already December snow up near Snoqualmie Pass? It's true. I saw it with my own eyes. I also saw this happen last weekend. How much tequila do you suppose it takes, to keep your balls warm enough to stay in this position for over 4 minutes? MATH PROBLEM!
Never mind that there is basically zero sunlight in this video, the song is about summer, aight!? From the album Creatures of an Hour, which I don't ever really see myself listening to in the summer, but which is getting fairly heavy rotation this winter. Maybe because it was recorded in London, and the weather is shitty there too. See it after the jump:
Hey, that rhymed! On a serious tip, though, I'm really digging Cumulus' self-titled EP today. Alexandra Niedzialkowski's uncomplicated acoustic songs are a comforting balance of both lovely and, at times, a little bit sad, and her voice is reminiscent of Frente's Angie Hart... without the Australian accent. (Remember Frente? I loved Frente. Electric flute!)
According to the Cumulus Facebook page (that's where I get all my breaking band news these days) the band recorded a new EP with Erik Walters of the Globes, which'll be out hopefully sometime soon, but for now the 2010 EP and a handful of demos up for grabs on Bandcamp.
Cumulus plays the Comet on Friday, February 3rd, with the Pica Beats and the Soft Hills.
We've received a few event cancellations here at the Stranger bunker (weak), but if you read snow right, it actually means "Party!" Lots of people don't have to go to work today, and many won't have to go tomorrow. Still more are phoning it in from home, and eventually everyone's going to crave some actual human interaction that doesn't require an internet connection. That's where you come in, providers of social lubricants like booze and music. For one, you can join the inebriates of the Stranger editorial department for gin "tasting" at Liberty tonight. Chime in if you're not going to be a wuss and forge on with the good times tonight, or if you know your favorite joint will be open.
So Friday I leave for Mexico (don't grouse, it's been almost a decade since I last got out of North America the country—excepting Canada). I'm trying to put together some groovy, sunny albums on the playlist. So far I've got Lee Hazelwood, Cowboy in Sweden, Mountains, Air Museum, the War on Drugs and Kurt Vile's Smoke Ring for My Halo, among others.
What I'm looking for: Something that'll jibe with the weather and vibe of the Yucatan Peninsula, it's preferably rather monumental. Example: When I went to London about 10 years ago, I made a mixtape (on an actual tape!), which had Radiohead's Amnesiac and Airbag/How am I Driving? EP on it. Those records will forever remind me of my first trip across the Atlantic and the great times I had in that grey, foreign city with it's wholly global/future/melancholy feel. I'm headed for Isla Mujeres. Help a guy out.
If you are 21 years old or younger and make music—any kind of music at all—you want to enter Sound Off!. The EMP's annual underage battle of the bands is a great experience for any young musician—you can gain experience, meet a lot of other cool kids, and maybe even win some kick ass prizes, too. And you have less than one week to get your Sound Off! entry submitted!
Sound Off! program coordinator Jesse Reed says they've already gotten a lot of great entries that span all kinds of genres: "Retro folk pop, light metal, pun rock, noise ska, concept rock, u-new-knew-disco-soul-house, and lots of indie, hip hop, alternative and metal."
I really want to know what "u-new-knew-disco-soul-house" is.
And if you want to know more, here's a video, created last year for SO!'s 10-year-anniversary, which showcases some of the success stories the program has helped launch (hey, that's my face talking at you!):
I just called my friend Dale Muck on the telephone. I guess we're still friends, I haven't talked to him in 8 years. I remember the last time we met, we ran into each other at a Sunoco gas station in Cleveland, Ohio. "The last time I saw you, you said that you had become a mod," he said. I remember that moment, I was at a Unique thrift store, buying used ties and starchy white shirts. He must have taken me seriously when we ran into each other in an aisle, me with an armload of ties and white shirts. "Oh, I'm mod now," I probably said. I was joking, but in the Cleveland, Ohio way. That's a place where everything has to be a joke because you're living in Cleveland, Ohio. It's a little after 6am where Dave is living now, just outside of Cleveland. He answered his phone and I apologized for calling so early and reminded him who I was and he remembered, which pleased me. Instead of catching up, I told him that I only wanted to know if he still liked the Dead Milkmen.
This weekend's hideous rainstorm demands an appropriate soundtrack. For me, it's been bummerific slowcore/shoegaze act Have a Nice Life. Specifically, their epic, elegiac track "Earthmover." The song has just the right kind of doomy sonic moping and caustic beauty that feels called for. Plus, it seems obvious (to my ears, anyway) that they're using a Yamaha DD-55 for their percussion, which makes them automatically endearing.
Headphones up for the crushing wave of sound at 5:22, dudes.
In case you think the normal rules of drinking don't apply on account of the snow, I am telling you this morning that if anything they apply moreso, because you may actually fall down and burst your nose open on the ice.
(Also, this is clearly bullshit. I am de-friending the two people I know who voted against the liquor initiatives [figuratively speaking—they're still good friends.])
Hot diggity damn. Whenever the weather turns sour, sunny music doesn't cut it anymore. That's when I pull out my favorite winter records and listen to them non-stop. Here are a couple of my favorites; what are your favorite winter albums?
Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
Always a good call for a winter album. A subterraneous masterpiece with beats that freeze the blood in your veins. The raps are cynical and grim, cold and dark. 'Nuff said.
Portishead - Dummy
I can't think of a Portishead track that doesn't remind me of freezing weather. Trudging through sleet and snow—it's a feeling that permeates their lazy, plodding drums, lackadaisical scratches and Beth Gibbons' breathy, taught voice. Turn the lights low and let the streetlights glint off the snow for this one.
Honorable mentions: Aesop Rock - Labor Days and Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (Impulse, '63)