[Abby's Road] It’s not your Oma’s Bavaria

abbybeingcool

Well. My journey in the south will soon be over. It’s officially official: in a couple short months my better half, our cat and I will be packing up and heading north. Berlin, we’re coming at you. I must admit that while I adore Munich, I am looking forward to a change of scenery and a more, well, ‘multi-culti’ atmosphere. As this decision was being made I realized that aside from going on about the gigs I’ve hit, I never really talked all that much about the local music scene here as I see it. Maybe I should while I’m still a citizen of this great city. So. Munich.

On the surface, as with many big-ticket tourist destinations, Bavaria, specifically Munich, is a region/city steeped in tradition. Pre-war, post-war, lederhosen and beer, the preconceived notions of an international community based on history’s timeline are about as real as the glossy travel brochures have them appear to be. There is a revered beauty and charm connected to the region that cannot be denied. That said, while many young people visit Oktoberfest annually in full-blown tracht and regalia, Munich is about as rich with progressive musicians and art as a city comes.

There really is no physical nucleus to the “scene” in Munich…one I’ve encountered, anyway. It is really just one giant amalgam of local venues + musicians/fans sprinkled about the city. It’s all pleasantly accessible. And, if you can believe it, it’s pretty radio-centric as well. With online access and specialized streaming tools it had (shamefully) been years since I dialed into an actual station; since my college radio days in the early-90s I guess. It was on holiday visiting my Bavarian in-laws some 5 years ago when I heard a song on the car stereo I assumed was some long-lost Sarah Records gem I missed somehow. Confused, I settled and checked the tracklist from the show and was floored to find that it was Wild Nothing hailing from the VA/Washington, DC area WHERE I WAS LIVING AT THE TIME. Appreciate the irony: I had to come to Munich to hear someone from my backyard. On the radio. Right.

It’s mothership being the Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), PULS Radio successfully caters to younger listeners and those who wish to hear a mindful mix of music running against the mainstream and a good dose of homegrown artists as well. Via their website one can become connected to a veritable cornucopia of music, pop-culture interviews, videos and events with a fingertip. The end of November brings the annual PULS Festival, the biggest indoor radio festival in Europe. Hosted in the classical music soundstages of the BR, it is an international evening of progressive and new live music. This year’s line-up included but was not limited to NYC’s Haerts, Copenhagen’s Reptile Youth and Munich’s own Aloa Input. The best of show this year happened to be a rap artist (!) from Augsburg. I give you Blindspot.

Continue reading [Abby's Road] It’s not your Oma’s Bavaria

Quick Update!

Hey friends,

In case you hadn’t noticed, Knox Road has been lacking new posts lately. Don’t worry, it’s not a trend that will continue much longer. However, we have had some busy lives lately which has kept us from really digging our ears into new music. We will be back atcha shortly, with our eyes on the prize.

Thank you all for your patience and we hope 2014 is treating you well.

Cheers.

“The Cure: In Orange”

The-Cure-in-Orange

I first caught a glimpse of a dewigged Robert Smith on a spotty VHS copy of “The Cure: In Orange,” a videotape a friend popped into his VCR and told me, then in 1998 when I first started playing the bass guitar, “man, look at Simon, you need to learn how to play like that.” To see Simon Gallup at that point in the Cure’s history, during the heyday of their reign over the goth-pop worshiping masses in the mid-80s, was a moment I will never forget.  Strumming his bass during a smoke-hazed set that included some of my personal favorite Cure songs, such as  “Push” and “A Forest,” kept me glued to the screen in awe of the grandiose setting, and equally magnificent performance. For me, at that very moment, Simon Gallup playing his bass and wearing all black was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

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[Abby's Road] Best wishes

abbybeingcool

“Despite the commerce involved, we hope you will consider this our gift to you.”
-Low’s Christmas liner notes.

Ahhh the holidays. For me it’s Christmas. Now while I lean toward the more secular, bedazzled version  containing spangles, boughs of holly and sticky mugs of Glühwein rather than mangers and swaddling clothes (blatant honesty, folks), I understand that all encompassing ‘holiday time’ means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I have shamelessly chosen the Candy Cane Lane version and I’m happy with it.

Continue reading [Abby's Road] Best wishes

Knox Road’s Top Albums of 2013

Knox Road Top Albums 2013

Another year, another top albums list (some things changed, though — we turned 5 years old!). We asked Knox Road writers to provide their Top Albums of 2013. You know what ensued. Tears, laughter, debate. Actually not much of any of those. Just heartfelt thoughts. If these lists make you listen to one new album, it was all worth it. Have a happy holiday season and stay warm.

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Danger Village presents “The Ghost Control Mix”

Winter Walk

You may have noticed we’re big Danger Village folks around here. Beth has filled our ears with goodies over the past few years, and I’ve had the chance to become REAL LIFE FRIENDS with her. One of those real-life-friends moments happened to be over CMJ, where Beth and I talked about one of her special Danger Village mixes for Knox Road. Despite moving to the warmer west coast, she’s been inspired by the colder weather and presented us with some end of year favorites. Catch “The Ghost Control Mix” below, which I’ve been listening to on repeat. I’ll let her chat about it from here. Beth, take it away.

“For the end of the year I compiled a list of new artists that fit into the darker, colder, wintery mood of December. This list has more male artists than any I’ve made this year, which is a nice trend as I’ve been lamenting the lack of truly talented, soulful male songwriters with beautiful voices. I’m glad to have come across a few at the end of this year like Benjamin Clementine and Isaac Sakima. I’m also enjoying how artists are blending electronics with more organic sounds, like we hear here with Adult Jazz, ceo and Young Fathers.

Overall it’s been a great year for music but I think 2014 is going to be even better.”

Track list after the jump.

Continue reading Danger Village presents “The Ghost Control Mix”

[MP3] Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons: “Hurricane”

angela perley hurricane

You can see the opening scene to a TV show in this Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons song. The main character is purposefully walking, or jogging in the morning, or doing something mischievous that makes them look and feel superior to all else. You know what I’m talking about.

“Hurricane” takes on a life of its own and doesn’t care what the rest of contemporary music sounds like. It just wants to rock. I’m down with that.

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons forthcoming full-length Hey Kid is out January 21.

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons on Facebook | iTunes

[Abby's Road] Freundliche Stammbaum

abbybeingcool

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.

Moving on…

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

[MP3] Mansions on the Moon: “Fade Into You” (Mazzy Star cover)

mansions on the moon mazzy star fade into you

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

Ages and Ages: “Divisionary (Do The Right Thing)”

ages and ages divisionary

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