Posted by: wesleytb | April 18, 2010

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

This Swedish folk singer has done it again. Kristian Matsson of The Tallest Man on Earth has managed to create another beautiful, sincere, and bare album. Bare not necessarily in a bad way, but quite the opposite. This album has been getting nothing but good reviews from nearly every blog that has payed attention to it. It was released earlier this month, shortly after the single “The King of Spain.” He is a truly talented singer and instrumentalist. His guitar playing is never overpowering or showy, but rather it is easy on the ears and graceful. Kristian Mattson has never been able to escape, for even a second the quick comparisons to Bob Dylan the industry and fans have been giving him. This album probably isn’t going to help him get away from it either. His music is simple, often never more than just a guitar and voice but its enough. I believe its actually better that way. Very few things are more beautiful and genuine that a singer just playing a guitar. It makes it hard to hide insincerity. If you add a lot of instruments that are often unnecessary it makes it easier to cover up falsehoods within the music. This is why I believe Kristian is so good at what he does. He uses the bareness in his music to his advantage. He sings of mostly basic things: nature, Ideas, love, music, and life. But it’s hard to miss the substance behind it all.

Posted by: wesleytb | April 11, 2010

Midlake World Tour

With the recent release of their newest album The Courage of Others, Midlake has released a listing of their 2010 world tour. This folk-rock group from Denton, Texas has been winning over the hearts of indie and folk music lovers since 2004. They just finished playing at SXSW and have plenty more festival sets coming up in the near future. Pitchfork has an interview posted on their website with the front-man of the group, Tim Smith. It’s definitely worth reading if you’re into their music. He tells us what music inspires them, what touring is like, and what it is like playing shows with The Flaming lips… read it here.

You can read Pitchfork’s review of The Courage of Others by clicking here.

Midlake’s official page.

03-31 Birmingham, AL – WorkPlay Theatre
04-01 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
04-02 Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
04-03 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
04-04 Washington, DC – Black Cat
04-05 Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel
04-07 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
04-08 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
04-09 Boston, MA – Paradise
04-10 Philadelphia, PA – Theater of the Living Arts
04-14 Rennes, France – Antipode
04-15 Lille, France – Grand Mix
04-16 Bourges, France – Auditorium
04-17 Lyon, France – Epicerie Moderne
04-19 Utrecht, Netherlands – Tivoli
04-20 Paris, France – Bataclan
04-21 Rheims, France – La Cartonnerie
04-22 Strasbourg, France – Festival Artefact
04-23 Antwerp, Belgium – Trix
04-24 Hyeres, France – Festival Faveur de Printemps
04-26 Rotterdam, Netherlands – Watt
04-27 Nijmegen, Netherlands – Doonroosje
04-28 Groningen, Netherlands – Vera
05-14 Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
05-15 St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
05-16 Newport, KY – The Southgate House
05-17 Columbus, OH – Wexner Center for the Arts (OSU)
05-18 Ithaca, NY – Castaways
05-20 Montreal, Quebec – Le National
05-21 Toronto, Ontario – The Mod Club
05-22 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
05-23 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
05-24 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
05-25 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
05-27 Bozeman, MT – The Filling Station
05-28 Missoula, MT – The Badlander
05-30 George, WA – Sasquatch Music Festival
06-01 Aspen, CO – Belly Up Aspen
06-02 Santa Fe, NM – Santa Fe Brewing Co.
06-03 Lubbock, TX – The Foundation
06-04 Austin, TX – Antone’s
06-05 Dallas, TX – Palladium Ballroom
06-25 Cork, Ireland – Live at The Marquee
06-28 Liverpool, England – Academy
06-29 Sheffield, England – Leadmill
06-30 Portsmouth, England – Pyramids
07-07 Hultsfred, Sweden – Hultsfredsfestivalen
07-09 Cologne, Germany – Classic Rocknacht
07-15 Beccles, England – Henham Park
07-16 Ferropolis, Denmark – Melt! Festival
07-18 Southwold, England – Latitude Festival
11-02 London, England – Roundhouse

Posted by: wesleytb | April 7, 2010

Sufjan Stevens Show!

So last night my friend and I drove up to Knoxville, Tennessee (about 4 hours from my hometown) to see Sufjan Stevens accompanying Clogs at the Big Ears Music Festival. The car ride was nice, drove through too may mountains to count blaring Sufjan in the car. We thought we had planned pretty fairly well ahead, we left at 10:30 hoping to get there early and be able to wonder around before the doors open. That idea was shot as soon as we passed a sign that informed us we were entering “eastern time.” We started freaking out thinking we were going to miss the show because we neglected to remember that not everyone runs on central time, oh well. BUT WE MADE IT. And we even had some time to kill and wonder around the festival. We went into the Bijou Theater to take our seats, an hour after we were supposed to, but that was ok…we were about to see SUFJAN STEVENS. It really was an amazing show, there were too many guest artists to count. We had no idea who Clogs was but they were good. No one else seemed to know either, so we didn’t feel as bad. Everyone was there for Sufjan. But Sufjan played one song of his own on the piano (a new one), which was beyond amazing. Then for the last song he came out and played his banjo and sang along with everyone else. It was an amazing show, even if we drove 8 hours in one day just to hear one song. I was disappointed we couldn’t stay to see the other shows. I will definitely be back for Big Ears next year.

Posted by: wesleytb | March 18, 2010

Ben Kweller

This is a post I’ve been anxious about writing even way before I got this blog. Ben Kweller turning into a country virtuoso. I’m definitely putting a poll at the end of this post because I’m dying to know how many people along with me, hate his new genre of choice.

Everything seemed to be going ok for Ben. No one could deny that everything in and between his 2000 release, Sha Sha and his second to most recent album Ben Kweller was nothing short of amazing. Then with his next release, Changing Horses (2009), things began (to put it nicely) suck. Out of absolutely nowhere, Ben turned into a tobacco spitting, cowboy hat wearing, wanna be cattle hearder. I know that sounds a little harsh, but Changing Horses rocked my world when it came out (not in a good way).

Now don’t get me wrong, I am in LOVE with all of his previous works. They are fun, quirky, authentic, beautiful, and…perfect. Ben Kweller, if you’re reading this I am beeeggggiiiinnnngggg you to throw away the cowboy hat and the fiddle. Now I know you’re from Texas and everything, but lets be serious. Please, oh God, please release content that is more similar in genre to your earlier works. I would love you even more.

Posted by: wesleytb | March 13, 2010

Covers You Must Hear

For this weeks post, I thought I would upload some covers you might not have heard before. These are song being covered by some of my favorite indie folk artists. Enjoy!

Starting it off right is Fleet Foxes frontman, Robin Pecknold covering Joanna Newsome’s “On a Good Day.” He does a brilliant job covering Joanna’s shortest song on her new album.  The Fleet Foxes are supposedly going on tour sometime this year with Joanna Newsome. Hopefully soon someone will upload a video of them playing this song together on their tour.

With all the hype that Lady Gaga has been getting lately, I have no choice but to post this. It’s really not as much of a struggle to post this as I’m making it sound like. It’s actually a very good cover that I’ve listened to numerous times now. It’s cool, definitely a different take on Lady Gaga’s hit, “Poker Face than I expected it to be.” Give it a listen:

Orba Squara-Poker Face
Folk Covers: Lady Gaga.

This has to be my favorite cover out of all of these. I’m a huge Ray LaMontagne fan and have been for quite some time. The energy and emotion that he pours into this song and all of this other works is undeniable. Below is Ray LaMontagne covering Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”, which was a pretty big hit a few years back.

More covers to come, I promise.

Posted by: wesleytb | March 7, 2010

Devendra Banhart

To call him unique would be an understatement. Devendra Banhart has been releasing beautiful music since about 2002, but has been playing since he was a teenager. In every video I’ve seen of him performing, he always seems to be having fun. His music and his performances are genuine.

Devendra Banhart on Last.fm

I’ve seen a lot of shows (I’m sure you have as well) and have been noticing a theme that separates the good ones from the bad ones. A show’s success can’t always be attributed to whether or not the performers are in key or if the show sounds identical to the album you were listening to in the car on the way their show. It all boils down to whether or not the artist is genuine about the music they are playing. Above all, I think we can all agree that seeing an artist love the music they’re playing (even if its the 30th show of a two month tour) is fascinating. I’ve been to countless shows where instruments have broken, out of tune, everything that could go wrong did, and so on and so on. But some of these performances were the best ones I have ever seen simply because the performer loved what they were doing and put enough passion into it to move you, both literally and figuratively. Not to stray too far, but I believe this is why Lady Gaga has become so popular. I can’t remember the last time a pop-star has shown as much love and devotion to their music as Lady Gaga has. People love that.

Here is Pitchfork’s review of Devendra Banhart’s most recent album release, What Will We Be

Posted by: wesleytb | February 25, 2010

Bowerbirds

I have recently fallen madly in love with this group from North Carolina, the Bowerbirds. I first ran into their music about a week ago when I stumbled into their new music video on Pitchfork. It’s a video for the track “Northern Lights” which is on their album Upper Air. It is a fairly simple music video that shows their “folky” persona and down-to-earth-attitude. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be touring too much, for now. Hopefully that will change soon.  The group comprises Phil Moore (vocals, guitar, hi-hat/tambourine), Beth Tacular (accordion, bass drum, vocals), and Mark Paulson (drums, violin). There music is fun, heart-warming, and most importantly sincere. They have released three albums so far with their latest one being released just last year, Upper Air. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for them. If you’re interested you should definitely check out their home page. They have a pretty bad ass site that has some cool images, videos,  and an even cooler blog that they seem to update pretty regularly.

Here is a link to the video I can’t stop watching, enjoy.

You can download the track “Northern Lights” here for free.

Current Shows:

Mar 11 2010 10:00P | Oberlin College | Oberlin, Ohio

Mar 12 2010 7:00P | Calvin College w/ Joanna Newsom | Grand Rapids, Michigan

Mar 13 2010 7:45P | Taylor University | Upland, Indiana

Mar 14 2010 7:30P | Maintenance Shop | Ames, Iowa

Mar 15 2010 8:00P | Grinnell College | Grinnell, Iowa

Mar 17 2010 11:00P | SXSW – BrooklynVegan Showcase | Austin, Texas

Mar 18 2010 1:30P | SXSW – Billions Party | Austin, Texas

Apr 9 2010 8:30P | Cat’s Cradle | Carrboro, North Carolina

Please come to NEW ORLEANS!!!

Posted by: wesleytb | February 21, 2010

Sufjan Stevens at Big Ears Festival 2010!

I have good news everyone! I just bought a ticket to see Sufjan Stevens at Big Ears Festival on March 27! I’m more than ecstatic. The festival will be taking place in Knoxville, Tennessee from March 26-28. If you live less than an 8 hour drive away, you have no excuse for not going and seeing a show or two, or even staying for the entire festival! And if you can’t make it out for the whole festival, like me, you can buy tickets to the shows individually. The Sufjan Stevens show ended up totaling to about $25 I believe and it’s going to be more than worth it.  I have been waiting what feels like ages to see this man live. Its actually a very special show because it is just him performing. He will be playing along side The Clogs, Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner (The National), and Shara Warden (My Brightest Diamond). It’s going to be an orgy of artistic brilliance. They tell us that the set list for the show will be songs mostly from the new Clogs album The Creatures In The Garden Of Lady Walten. As excited as I about The Clogs album debut being performed, I’m hoping that Sufjan will be allowed to slip in a song or two of his own. You can see the entire line up of the festival here.

Sufjan Stevens in all his glory

Posted by: wesleytb | February 14, 2010

Swedish Folk

This cover, I’m aware, is a few years old but I just heard it for the first time yesterday and am HOOKED. I’m a huge fan of both Jose Gonzalez and The Knife. Some government mind altering creativity enhancing drug has to be secretely put in their drinking water because I don’t know what is going on across the pond in Sweden, but they seem to be doing something right. Both Jose Gonzalez and The Knife are natives of Sweden and so are many other amazing artists that have been getting a lot of press recently. I’ve been looking for an excuse to go visit Sweden for a while now, so this might just be it. I need to fly over there, obtain some of their drinking water and bring it back to the states for lab testing.

The Tallest Man On Earth is also another brilliant Swedish folk musician. His name is Kristian Matsson and also sings in a band called The Montezumas. Give him a listen, he’s fantastic. He actually just released a new single called “King of Spain,” you can download it free here.

One thing I’ve noticed about all of these Swedish folk proteges is that you can almost never tell they are from Sweden, at least that’s me. I don’t know, maybe you can, but I sure can’t. So every time I look them up to learn more about them, I am blown away that they are Scandinavian at all. They seem to have no clear “Swedish” accent and their playing styles are never consistent with one another. I guess from now on if I hear any indie folk that is mind-blowing, I should assume the artist is Swedish. Or at the very least, assume they have drank Swedish water before.

Another great up and coming indie folk duo, First Aid Kit, from Sweden of course:

Posted by: wesleytb | February 7, 2010

The Avett Brothers

I remember seeing these guys for the first time when they would come through Huntsville, AL (my hometown) when they were first really getting into the scene. I was fortunate that they are natives of North Carolina and were close enough to have plenty of opportunities to play shows near me. The morning after their shows, you could hear everyone in the halls of my high School buzzing about how much fun they had going to see The Avett Brothers the night before. They became a big hit quickly and for good reason.

Just from seeing them perform, it is very obvious that they love what they do. I strongly believe this is why they have become so successful and well-known. They have played shows virtually at almost every music festival, conference, and city you can think of. This includes ACL, SXSW, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, and the list goes on and on. People can’t seem to get enough of their string-breaking fun shows.

https://i2.wp.com/www.cbbfestival.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/photo-by-crackerfarm.jpg

Unfortunately, they haven’t been back to Huntsville since. No surprise there.

Thankfully, I live in New Orleans now and have had opportunities to see them again. Regardless of whether you really enjoy this type of bluegrass-country-folk banjo banging music, I personally guarantee you will have a good time no matter what music you are into. The crowd always seems to take their energy and their music to heart.

A fun video that I think really rings true to their musical personality:

Main Website
Follow them on Twitter

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