It’s been a while. Radical Face. What a lovely place to start. So…
Recently I had the pleasure of seeing the last gig of the Radical Face EU tour here in Munich. While the exquisite recorded versions of Ben Cooper’s songs machine ideas into an almost hand-hewn reality, the live versions are remarkable as well for a slew of other reasons. Taking into consideration Cooper is (mostly) a one-man operation when recording, one would assume that a live setting would be more than challenging. Naturally, variations in the natural fabric of the recorded songs occur and are welcomed. With the inclusion of a viola da gamba and bass on this tour, the *collection of Radical Face touring musicians (friends on and off the stage for years) were a marvel of good humor and song. And to be able to spin such beauty into this cover? It’s like voodoo.
Coinciding with the US/EU tours, late October/early November (depending upon where you call home) welcomed the release of Radical Face’s newest LP and 2nd installment of the Family Tree trilogy, The Branches. The aural equivalent of a tome of ancient photos and pages of handwritten tales of familial woes and joys, it is true to form and does what all of Cooper’s releases have done since Ghost way back in 2007. It evokes a sense of history and heartbreak, taking root at the base of one’s spine at first listen in an attempt to draw you into its biology. And succeeds.
Continue reading [Abby's Road] Freundliche Stammbaum →
Spanning from intense electro pop to folk ballads to acoustic covers of such luminaries as Mazzy Star, Mansions on the Moon does it all.
Mansions on the Moon on Knox Road | Website
YES. I needed this song so bad. Ages and Ages hearkens back to late 90s/early 2000s indie pop, which makes my heart melt with nostalgia, appropriately coming on the heels of Knox Road’s 5 year birthday. “Divisionary (Do The Right Thing)” ushers in the holiday season with explosive warmth and a soul-searing, lovely anthem. Discordant harmonies add to the gleeful, childish flair of the track. The energy is contagious and takes a page out of some of The New Pornographers playbook. Ages and Ages is from Portland (obviously). Dig in!
Ages and Ages’ full-length LP is due March 25.
Ages and Ages on the web | iTunes preorder | Partisan Records
There’s a little bluebird sitting on my fire escape. For a while, any movement I made turned him into a goner. But now I can approach the window and he’s prepared for my presence. He cocks his head ever so slightly to the side, but keeps his eyes affixed on me. I wonder what he’s waiting for to fly south. There’s a flock of others on the roof across the street, flying circles overhead as they practice their formation toward warmer weather. But this blue guy appears to have no worry in the world. He’s ready for the fast ascending darkness; for the crisp air that puts so many of us into hibernation. Perhaps he will be here forever. Probably not. But until then, I’ll watch his unmoving gaze and a concentration I never thought possible.
Get the full EP on iTunes
River Tiber on the web | Facebook
In 2008, Breaking Bad began its first season. 35% of Twitter users had 10 or fewer followers. The iPhone was one year old. Knox Road was created (see our first post on November 17, 2008, above).
This post isn’t so much about the history of Knox Road as it is about our gratitude to our readers and team of writers (though I could go on and on about the history – it’s crazy how much the blogging game has changed over the years). Without you, Knox Road is just two dudes talking about music and pop culture nonsense. With you, Knox Road is two dudes talking about music and pop culture nonsense to people, with many other excellent non-nonsense pieces all around. If I ever thought Knox Road would last 5 years, I probably would not have created it. Kidding. I think.
But, really, this blog has given new meaning to our lives both within and outside of music, and we are forever grateful to everyone who helped make it happen. We know we don’t post as often as we did in our heyday, but we hope we’re still providing you with relevant columns and new music that you may never hear outside of the site.
As our “About” section explains, it’s pretty simple, really.
We speak about worldy musicians quite often, but I’d be hard-pressed to find someone more deserving of that label than Sophia Mitiku. Mitiku, half Korean, half Ethiopian, was born in California but raised and grew up between Germany and Finland. Say what? Yeah. She knows a thing or two about diverse cultures.
Mitiku, a singer/songwriter, makes delicately nuanced songs, using minimal instrumentation and chilling vocals. The nuance creates a powerful effect, and Mitiku’s vibrant and full-bodied voice carries the tracks to their ultimate destination.
Sophia Mitiku – “The Hollow” [MP3]
Check out her YouTube channel for more covers and original tracks.
Sophia Mitiku on Facebook
An indie-folk trio lady trio based out of Sydney. My interest is already piqued. But really, though, “Hide” is a lovely song and makes me feel so much better about this dreary day (not to mention the winter darkness ahead). The rolling percussion and echoed vocals turn what begins as a nice folk ditty into a lush anthem.
Little May on Facebook | Website
His music still strikes me at the core. Check out Calnin’s new song below. I’ve got nothing to add to my first post, which nicely sums up my feelings. Expect more TV placement soon.
Shout out to my fellow Hayden Calnin loving friend Missy from LBYB.
Hayden Calnin on SoundCloud | Facebook | Knox Road
Chris walked up the front steps to the worn-down school he used to call home for 15 years. Fresh out of University, he taught English to seventh graders. It had been full of laughter, mischievous souls, and teachers who hated the place yet loved it at the same and wouldn’t give it up for the world. It never smelled great, but now it reeked of mildew, and a sticky wetness fell upon him as he walked inside. On this chilly night, Chris wanted to go back to everything he remembered. But this was eerie. And Chris was alone. The warmth that used to surround this place was gone. Chris walked up to one of his old classrooms and sat down with his back against the beat up and graffitied door, placing his head softly against it. He took in the empty hallway and closed his eyes, hoping to see light.
Eureka Birds on the web | Facebook | Knox Road
Hype Hype Hooray is normally a go-to resource for philosophical analyses of popular music, but today it is Help Help Hooray, a go-to resource for music-related personal advice. Have a music-related problem you need help with? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
I was at a Toro Y Moi show with my roommate, let’s call him “Dirk,” and right in the middle of “New Beat” where he breaks back into that synth lead like crazy, Dirk starts throwing horns in the air. I get that it’s a high energy moment, but I just feel like the horns don’t belong at a Toro Y Moi show, ya know? Should I sit him down and talk to him about it, or should I just forget about it? Help!
Help Out Right Now Soon!
This is a very tricky issue, HORNS. Throwing horns, or extending one’s index and pinky fingers while tucking the rest together, then thrusting that hand in the air, has roots that reach back into ancient superstition. “The Sign of the Horns,” aka “Devil Horns,” aka “mano cornuto,” was thought to ward off evil or else summon Satan or else imply cuckoldry. Like every other combination of raised and lowered fingers, it has several different meanings across cultures and over time.
In rock culture, the meaning of the horns is more vague. The sign’s first appearance is debatable. Gene Simmons, Ronnie James Dio, Ozzie Osbourne and even John Lennon have received credit for bringing the horns to rock ‘n’ roll. The horns gained popularity in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s at heavy metal and otherwise “hard” rock shows, but have since infiltrated shows of all genres, from Big & Rich to Britney Spears.
To throw horns or not to throw horns, that is certainly a big question at a show. On one hand live music is all about uninhibited freedom to enjoy the music, to let it flow through you and to truly experience it. On the other hand, it can be embarrassing for everyone when you’re the only person throwing double horns to Laura Veirs. It’s always best to test the temperature of the audience. If you start to feel that macho, fist-pumping energy that summons the horns, by all means throw them up. Just know that throwing unwarranted horns is a major concert faux pas. I won’t necessarily judge you but there are plenty of people, like you yourself, HORNS, who will.
Judging by your reaction, and the energy of the music, it sounds like your roommate did in fact throw inappropriate horns, HORNS. But let’s not judge too harshly, lest we wind up getting lost in the energy of a show and throwing unwarranted horns ourselves. It happens to the best of us.
Continue reading [Help Help Hooray] The Age-Old Question of When to Throw Horns →