Monday, July 25, 2011

"The Hop" Radio Citizen

Friday evening I found myself moving slowly through traffic, with my windows down, and this song was playing on the Current. It is the perfect song for a warm (and muggy) summer day.  This is one of those songs that I thought was so great to have as a new find, only to find out its been around for years. And I must say, I don't know much about this band or song, but I am hooked.

"The Hop" by Radio Citizen feat. Bajka

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yellow Ostrich

This song, Campaign, has been stuck in my head all night.

Trying to look up this song, I found out that Yellow Ostrich recently signed on with Barsuk Records. This means that the album The Mistress will actually be re-released with 3 bonus songs and it will be made into hard copy (ahem, CDs). How exciting for them! Currently, you can find some older tunes for free download over at Bandcamp, but that's it. Sorry, you'll have to wait for The Mistress to be re-released on August 16th to get those tunes.

Yellow Ostrich was originally started as a solo project by Alex Schaaf (the one in the middle in the picture). Fun fact: he is from Wisconsin. Feel the pseudo-local pride. After his temporary free release of The Mistress on Bandcamp, he later joined forces with Jon Natchez (bass, horns, vocals) and Michael Tapper (drums, vocals).

If you get a chance, you really ought to check out their Take Away Show. I've watched this video many many times and I'm continually impressed at how great this music turns out live. Their performance over at Big Ugly Yellow Couch is also worth checking out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sufjan Stevens "Sister Winter"

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis
Here in Minneapolis, people are crazy about riding their bicycles. I have recently discovered why, as I now ride my bike to work. But much like dancing and music, I could try to tell you in words why it is wonderful, but my words will never suffice to describe the feelings.

Anyway, this post is not about biking, but about music. Late last night, as I finished my shift at my beloved workplace, I hopped upon my bike for the ride home. The air was heavy with humidity and the city skyline was partially hidden by a humid haze. The city was quiet and forward movement of riding my bicycle created a nice breeze. And the song that was playing on my iPod fit that moment and the way I felt.

That song was Sufjan's "Sister Winter" from Songs for Christmas. It may not be Christmas time, but the ambiance of the song was perfect for that moment.

This song is almost cinematic. It starts with the soft chords of the piano and the sounds of violin join in soon after, as Sufjan softly sings along to echo the same delicate sentiments. But as the song moves on it builds into a hopeful and promising energy. It was a beautiful song to start my bike ride home in my wonderful city of Minneapolis.

If you like this tune, you can find a free download, along with a few more from Sufjan, here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Indie Meets Lindy...Again

I was just introduced to this music video for Slow Club's song Two Cousins. This is Slow Club's newest single for their upcoming album release. "Two Cousins" can be found on iTunes, but you will have to wait a little bit longer to find the full album.
The duo, Rebecca and Charles from the UK, has been around since 2007 creating "folk rock" tunes. I would have to argue that this new single of theirs does not sound anything like folk or rock, but rather more indie-pop/hip-hop inspired.

Anyways, the video for "Two Cousins" showcases lindy hoppers Ryan Francois and Remy Kouame as they pay homage to Al Minns and Leon James.

I really enjoyed this clip. There is discussion (and some whining) over at Yehoodi about how the dancing does not go with the music very well, which to a degree is true. I much prefer Dogpossum's viewpoints on the matter (please go read her analysis of the video). This video reminds me of montage clips within movies: the scene is edited to give snippets of both big and small picture focal points while a song plays in the background that may not match the action, but rather the emotion, of what we are witnessing. In essence, I don't think the dancing needs to be synched up to the music, as the music provides an emotional backdrop for which we can feel and understand the movement of the dance. Often when I think about lindy hop and charleston, I think about the energy and joy that comes from them, but this video and its editing did a good job of capturing the attitude of the dance I love so much.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just "Kick, Push"

I haven't posted here in what feels like forever, with good reason: no free time. I have been working like a crazy (70+ hrs/wk), which has been good to my bank accounts, but not so good to my social/dance/music listening life. This week has been unusually rough as I have not only been working at my two current jobs but also helping out with some of the details for Twin Cities Balboa Festival this weekend.
(By the way: you should probably come. And please dance with me all night long, as its been far too long since I've gotten in a good amount of dancing.)
As I have been working away on Google Docs, it has been Lupe Fiasco's song about skateboarding that has been getting me through. To make it through this week, all I've got to do is just "kick, push, kick, push."

The original video can be found here.

For all of you out there who are just trying to make it through and keep going , I hope this song is as good to you as it has been to me.