01/26/13

New Music: The Lone Bellow

Brooklyn-based trio, The Lone Bellow, have recently released their debut self-titled album. Produced by Charlie Peacock, the album has already received glowing reviews from a wide range of critics including the New York Times and NPR.

I’ve listened their album several times already and it’s easy to predict their popularity reaching The Lumineers’ status by this summer. What makes this group different? Their music is gospel influenced and their vocal harmonies are decidedly more soulful, however, it will be interesting to see if any of their singles reach “Ho Hey” status. I missed their showcase in Nashville a month ago, but their first ticketed date in town will undoubtedly be a huge event.

11/22/12

Exploring America: The Bonneville Flats

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Bonneville Salt Flats

I recently flew into Salt Lake City, Utah and drove the breathtaking stretch of I-80 West to Wendover, NV. In a relatively short distance, I passed The Great Salt Lake and a collection of mountains that included Kessler Peak, Farnsworth Peak and Nelson Peak. Perhaps the most interesting part of the drive was Bonneville Flats State Park.

Expanding 30,000 acres, The Bonneville Salt Flats are home to Bonneville Flats Speedway, the setting for numerous land speed records. An inhospitable and desolate place, the brilliant white glare of the plains makes the entire area appear to be covered by a thick sheet of freshly fallen snow. A stunning sight in any season, I can hardly imagine visiting in the summer, the flat and barren land creating a mirage of waves in the distance.

I found a fantastic Discovery Channel video that beautifully captures this exotic and unique place: Land Speed Records: The Bonneville Flats.

11/13/12

Nightmares of Newport

This July was my first time attending the Newport Folk Festival. I was so enchanted by the event that I found it hard later to put the experience to words. Every now and then, I’ll have dreams about particular things I remember. While there were so many amazing moments throughout the weekend, below are videos of some of my favorite songs.

Not included: the instrumental at the end of Wilco’s “Impossible Germany,” Sarah Lee Guthrie joining Wilco for “California Stars,” Deer Tick covering “Fight For Your Right” at the after party, Spirit Family Reunion’s “I’ll Find a Way,” Amy Helm covering “Twilight,” the crowd member that requested “Makin’ Pies” during Patty Griffin’s set, Arlo Guthrie singing “This Land Is Your Land,” Jackson Browne joining Sara Watkins for “You and Me,” and Robert Ellis’ Paul Simon medley at the after party.

The Tallest Man on Earth “Love Is All”

First Aid Kit “Diamonds & Rust” (Joan Baez cover)

Robert Ellis “Friends Like These”

Of Monsters and Men “Mountain Sound”

11/10/12

New Music: Luella and the Sun

Luella and the Sun were recently featured in Impose Magazine’s piece, The Best of Nashville’s Best of Nashville. They are were named “Best Band I Missed While I Was in Town.” They’ve released a 10″ single for download on their website, or to purchase at Grimey’s or The Groove.

Upcoming Nashville shows:

November 30 – Parlor & Juke
December 6 – Stone Fox
December 30 – 3rd & Lindsley

“Fly So Free” live at The Zombie Shop in Nashville, TN:

“We Got To Meet Death One Day,” the band’s first performance at Grimey’s on September 7:

Website: www.luellaandthesun.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/LuellaandtheSun
Twitter: twitter.com/LuellaandtheSun

06/12/12

Bonnaroo.

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This is sort of what Bonnaroo felt like this year through the lens of my iPhone. My favorite performances were Charles Bradley, Sarah Jarosz, Gary Clark Jr. and Robert Ellis.

Pictured: Beach Boys at What Stage, Wild Cub at Great Taste Lounge

05/26/12

Weekend.

Lance Katie

In the past 24 hours, I saw the midnight showing of Jurassic Park at The Belcourt, met a dog named Freddie Mercury, visited two East Nashville breakfast spots, and explored the neighborhood at dawn. I also heard Kylie in the grocery store.

05/24/12

New Music: Bison

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With the recent success of bands like Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes and The Lumineers, it isn’t surprising that an alternative folk band with classical influences from Chesapeake, VA appears to be the next in line to explode.

Featured today on NoiseTrade, I downloaded their album early this morning and found it immediately compelling with a sensitivity to melody, rhythm and complex arrangements. Bison is an atypical seven-piece home-schooled, spiritually influenced group who have self-described their sound as “folkesral” and “mountain-top chamber.”

Website: www.bisonfolk.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Bisonfolk
Twitter: @Bisonfolk

05/20/12

Overnight in Minneapolis, MN

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The Electric Fetus
2000 4th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

The Electric Fetus is widely regarded as the pre-eminent independent music store in Minnesota. Founded by four friends in 1968, partially as a cultural experiment, their website recalls a variety of stories from the past, including the “Streakers’ Sale” where customers could take all they could hold if they shopped in the nude. It’s a retail ticket outlet for many local venues and hosts in-store performances. There are also locations in Duluth and St. Cloud.

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Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant
510 North Snelling Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104

Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant, located in St. Paul, was the perfect spot for a quick and delicious meal. I ordered the vegetarian sampler and was impressed by the varied and flavorful assortment of items. This is one of the better Ethiopian restaurants that I have visited in my travels.

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Located in historic Dinkytown, The Varsity Theater first opened as a vaudeville show house in 1915. The Varsity Theater has been through several changes with the most recent incarnation being a well-appointed photography studio.

The interior of the Varsity Theater is eclectically designed with immaculate attention to detail. The bathrooms are among the nicest and most unique I have seen. The space is intimate with various scaling configurations to appropriately fit their diverse programming.

05/13/12

Overnight in Los Angeles, CA

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Los Angeles, a massive and spawling city of over 80 districts and neighborhoods, is impossible to experience in one day. During this recent trip, I decided to spend a few hours in a neighborhood that I had never visited – Silver Lake. Located East of Hollywood, Silver Lake is known as a gathering place for the creative class, as well as some of the most famous modernist architecture in the United States. Silver Lake has also become the center of the L.A. alternative and indie rock scene, drawing comparisons to Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

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LA Mill Coffee Boutique
1636 Silver Lake Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

LA Mill is one of the most decadently decorated coffee shops I’ve ever encountered. Red and black walls, ornate gold light fixtures and teal alligator skin chairs. The ambiance was otherwise laid back and service was friendly and genuine, even as I worked at my table for several hours. I’d describe my meal, but it was truly secondary to the amazing cup of coffee that I was served.

Extraction: Clover (brewed in specialized Clover vacuum siphon brew chamber)
Beans: Kenya AA Njuriga Estate

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Yolk
1626 Silver Lake Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Free range design! It’s the best part of the egg and clearly the best place for gifts in Silver Lake. In less than 30 minutes, I was able to find baby shower gifts, a souvenir for the house and an amazing vintage charm bracelet (75% off!) I loved the displays and almost all of the merchandise.