It’s been a while.
My locale has changed. Much like when I made the move from DC to Munich 4 years ago, my head has been about as far from writing as it could possibly be. Attempts to weave a cozy expat nest for myself while simultaneously trying to blend into (a new) German society has proven a challenging preoccupation, seeming to wipe my brain free of all levels of creativity and thoughtful anecdotes. I am, however, cautiously happy to report that after nearly ½ a year, I’m finally feeling like a Berliner. So much so that I was able to dip my tour guide toes into the pool for the loveliest bloke from Bristol last weekend, successfully (more on that in later installments). As I’ve ambled my way around this city, this Berlin, as with all of the other places I have lived, the same control is beating in my head and heart as different variables insist upon crashing before my feet. As I stumble, alone or in the company of others, my records lift me up. While it means much more to me (and my sanity) than yours, it looks like I’m back. Take me or leave me.
The beauty of Berlin, as compared to, say, Munich (or even DC) is that I feel more comfortable in my own skin here than in any other city I have ever called home. There is an unkempt sexiness and invincibility lining the streets and silhouettes of everyone. Berlin is perfectly imperfect. Moreover, and most importantly in this the Knox Road arena, I have interminable options as far as live music is concerned. When I say everyone plays here…I mean everyone. And if they aren’t, they’re striving to. I have no desire to land myself completely in the poorhouse, so feverish list-making and gentle gig selecting is necessary, as I am, for the most part, jobless. That said, I manage. Thanks for asking.
Rambling on with specifics of gigs attended seems futile. East India Youth, Lymbyc Systym, This Will Destroy You and a laundry list of jangly greatness at Pop Fest Berlin, to name a few. Per my years gone by, there hasn’t been a lack of live music in my life. Thankfully. Most recently, however, I was able to catch the quintet who provided a delightful chapter to the soundtrack of my first Berlin summer: Alvvays.
Continue reading [Abby’s Road] Always and forever →
This Friday is going to the dogs. Let’s brighten it up with some new songs by LA-based Repeater, whose s/t full length album is due November 18 via A Diamond Heart Production.
Tunng has been one of my favorite bands over the last several years, and former member Sam Genders is creating equally delightful pop under a new name, Diagrams. Diagrams actually released a debut EP in 2012, but he has a new album, Chromatics, coming out on Full Time Hobby in January and just released an equally calming and inspiring first single, “Phantom Power.”
Vincent Colbert is another example of weather and location influencing art. Colbert wrote his debut EP, Stranger in My House, when he moved to Michigan, and, well, felt like a stranger in his own home. He didn’t know who he become, or who he was. Transitions are one of the most challenging periods of life, and it’s music that time and again gets us through it. Colbert’s simplicity is the name of the game, especially on his single “Baseline.” Just acoustic guitar, light percussion, and stripped down vocals. That’s how I like it in rainy NYC.
Stranger in My House is due out January 20, 2015.
Ed Note: Abby’s Back!
At the only German gig in his 5 stop European mini-tour, Knox Road favorite Radical Face (Ben Cooper) was in typical form. Armed with his Jacksonville, Florida-based band, he delivered, per usual, a tome of stories plucked from a variety of his records released since 2007. It seemed to be over before it started. Exquisite and delivered with a self-deprecating humor, as always. But wait, there’s more:
The tour is on the heels of the release of his The Bastards 3 EP as well as the phenomenal CLONE project. While the latter is not officially a Radical Face production, it is an exciting collaboration of Cooper and long time friend and stellar musician Richard Colado (Rickolus). An album nurtured and recorded over the last 3 years (and planned for 6), it is an opera of sorts, telling the story of an adult, male clone experiencing life for the first time. The album has been released slowly over the last month in 6 acts. You can find details, links to downloads and how to acquire the pièce de résistance: a laser engraved crystal thumb drive containing the entire project, including the album in its original .wav format, stems of each act for remixing, and a .pdf transcript of the album here. Better move fast as they are limited to 250 pieces.
If you happen to be in Europe, clear your calendar and catch he and his entourage at one of their few remaining stops. As I’ve been saying consistently for the last five years, he’s not to be missed:
Nov 4 – Traffic Club, Rome
Nov 6 – Magnolia, Milan
Nov 8 – Iceland Airwaves
For those of you in the US, fingers crossed for some sort of tour in the living rooms, clubs and/or wooded areas of America. He’s done it all before and will hopefully do it again. For all of us.
Since I usually don’t post on the weekends, it would be wise to give you more music on Fridays. Lucky for us, Mansions on the Moon just released their new s/t album, and it’s thoroughly impressive. They use their softer acoustic skills more this time around (which we knew they already had from solo Ted Wendler work), lending a good deal of production value. The harmonies are haunting, the melodies enganging; this album is not one to be missed. Enjoy, and happy halloween.
Mansions on the Moon on Knox Road | Website
The fourth (and fifth) Coasts song I get to post on Knox Road? My am I lucky. More of the standard Coasts euphoria, which they’re somehow able to provide on every song they make. Not an easy feat, my friends!
The 4 song EP, with the title track above, is out via Tidal Recordings on December 1.
Start your weekend with this rollicking new jam from Jay and Stefanie McCarrol, the brother/sister duo Brave Shores, off their new EP out October 28.
This is how music discovery should work. I hear a great track by a well-established artist and it happens to feature a relative unknown with whom I begin to fall in love. Such a love story happened yesterday, when I posted Son Lux’s “No Fate Awaits Me” featuring vocals by Faux Fix. Well by golly! Faux Fix, the duo of Katie Chastain and Nathan Johnson, is extraordinary. They don’t have much music out there, but it appears they’ve been preparing a new album. So, in the meantime, enjoy their wonderful 2012 record, My Antagonist. Also, one of their new tracks, a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” is featured in the TV trailer for the film Nightcrawler.
Faux Fix on the web | Facebook
This is one doozy of a new song from Son Lux, aka Ryan Lott, off the Original Score & Songs Inspired By The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, for the movie which, if you can’t tell by the title of the album, Son Lux scored. So many commas. This track, “No Fate Awaits Me,” featuring Faux Fix, is beautiful and artsy and mesmerizing in every which way. Faux Fix’s vocals match the heavenly aesthetic to perfection. I haven’t been touched by a song like this in quite some time.
The full soundtrack is available Nov. 4 on Glassnote Records.