Tag Archives: Grizzly Bear

Ghost Cousin creates spectral melodies on debut album, Scotland

7 Sep

Full disclosure: I love Grizzly Bear. I think that “Two Weeks” is the greatest song I’ve ever heard, I love Daniel Rossen’s voice, and Ed Droste’s Twitter is one of the best. I’m not obsessed with them, but there will be no disrespecting the Bear while I’m around. Enter Ghost Cousin, a band that could be easily labelled poor man’s Grizzly Bear, rich man’s Poor Moon; however they have truly a unique sound that will one day be only theirs.

Scotland is an album that too few people have heard. After listening to it only once, I found myself humming the tune of “Healed Eyes” while darkly brooding. The deliberate rhythm of the album is mesmerizing and gives way to delicate guitar riffs, as in “Run Home.” The songwriting is poetic, creating stories with characters that you grow attached to: a mother, a son, a lover, an enemy. Each track is very endearing, each character a part of your life whether you knew them before or not.

Ghost Cousin is a fairly new band, only having released an EP, “Landscape of Animals,” before this. They are still underwhelmed by the industry it seems, after recording most of this album in a church in their hometown of Edmonton, Canada. They will know the headache of record companies and labels once they come into fame, which I predict will be fairly soon.  At least, I hope so; I don’t want to see Ghost Cousin leave the spotlight for a long while.

Scotland is out now, and you can hear it below. For more information on Ghost Cousin, visit their Facebook.

DAMEDAS Is All You Need Today

13 May

DAMEDAS

With the eccentric musical flair of Grizzly Bear and a penchant for 60s pop psychedelia, DAMEDAS is about ready to take the Los Angeles scene by storm. Founded in 2007 by musician Felipe Damedas, DAMEDAS has just recently expanded to include a full group of musicians…and words. The transformation from instrumental to lyric-laden psych/pop was not a difficult for the foursome.

What is perhaps most striking about DAMEDAS is its clear appreciation for the roots of rock n’ roll. The art (above) is reminiscent of the Beatles, and, class-style portraits aside, the music bears a neat resemblance to Beatles-style psychedelia – infectiously effervescent, heavily melodic, and elusively organized. Let me explain:

“All I Need is All I Have” is a tight single by DAMEDAS. The music is crowded with drenched harmonies, twangy guitar, and spondaic percussion. The instrumentation combines a wall of sound approach with portions of sincere quiet. Although I already made this comparison, I can best describe the music as a mix between old and new psych/pop. While the synth fits in with newer Indie Psych/Pop, the sing-song swooning melody is much like late 60s psych/pop. Excellent track!

You can download the single for free at DAMEDAS’ Bandcamp. Check out more about the band: Website, Twitter and Facebook

 

Grizzly Bear – Yellow House

26 Jun

In the middle of the woods, somewhere no one has ever set foot, sits a Yellow House. A place of serenity and a place of magic, it is only inhabited by the souls of people who yearn to escape. Wooden and dusty, it was furnished during a time long ago, when posterity borrowed its thoughts. Cut off from peering eyes, it is open only to you, a space so relative you cannot even place the feel of the wooden floorboards under your feet.

You may have heard of the Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear’s newest album Vekatimest. The name may have confused you, but you saw them on the David Letterman show and the poppy music intrigued you. You may have even bought (borrowed) the album and have since happily listened to its mystery.

*Puts on Hipster Glasses*

Well, I listened to Grizzly Bear before they blew up. Let me simply tell you now that their previous LP is one of the most mind blowing pieces of music ever. Their newest album strayed way too far and struggled to maintain the beauty of its predecessor whilst tackling the face of pop culture. It still turned out to be a very nice album, but today we focus on the pure musical serenity that is Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House.

I will start you off with the single. Knife, being the most approachable songs on the album. It features one of the most confusing music videos you will ever watch.

The song starts off with a slow and ghostly guitar riff. Try to imagine a sunny, yet haunted beach, where people go about doing the same thing forever, like on replay. The vocals are just the perfect brand of pop to make even the most hardcore magic user smile. The slow beat is just perfectly reminiscent of those unbearable summer days where simply walking down the street is putting oneself at risk of melting.

As the verse ends, a brisk guitar riff transitions the song like a cool breeze. But as quickly as it comes, it departs, leaving you again vulnerable to the sun. The vocals here are particularly amazing, the kind that ask you to remain calm as it is actually the ‘cool thing’ to be melting.

When that part ends a drumstick beat ushers in the main lyric. “Can’t you feel the knife?” It leaves you utterly shocked and confused as you scramble to figure out where you have been stabbed. But the song floats on as if it was just kidding about the knife part, hoping you will enjoy the rest of the song in peace. A nice touch of that 60’s psychedelic mind-trickery.

The extended ending is very soothing, just in case the knife part is still bugging you out. An interesting beat coaxes on piano notes, which wistfully echo a sweet tune.  The both of them remind you that you were actually inside a yellow house the entire time.

The last song on the album, my absolute favorite, is Colorado. It opens similarly to how Knife ended. This time though the beat is a low thumping kick and the piano notes are lower pitched and unevenly distanced.  The vocals fade in mid-sentence, unintelligible yet mystic. They eventually begin chanting “Colorado” in an almost confused manner, as if the state was the only thing responsible for some unknown misfortune

I am particularly fond of the use of many different forest-esque noises throughout the beginning. It makes me feel like I am sitting by some mountain lake somewhere in Colorado watching nature evolve in circles.

The drums drop in a very easy jazz beat which quickly grows on you. The song begins to build up, as the singer switches to asking “Now what?” A very nice and minimalistic guitar solo occurs and again “Colorado” is chanted.

The song builds and builds and finally just stalls, but only in the most brilliant way. The simple slow bass kick remains and a mysterious woodwind instrument transitions into one of the most epic drops my ears have ever heard.

Just the sound of the guitar. I am not sure what kind of effects or amps are being used, but the result sounds like pure gold. Combined with the piano and the drums, they together paint a ridiculously vivid picture. The vocals return, layered over one another and the entire song climaxes so high that any magic user would be thrown into an amazing upbeat state for a long after it’s over. And trust me, it’s a great feeling. You definitely don’t even need magic.

These two snippets of the album Yellow House definitely give you an idea for the entire album. A couple of the songs are a little bit hard to get into at first, but that is mainly due to fact that they are very slow. Not that the entire album is compromised of rather slow moving songs, but it definitely can take some time to learn to appreciate that kind of music. Also keep in mind that a bunch of the songs start out slow, but pick-up halfway in magnificent fashion.

Now my music player shows the genre of this album as rock, but if I had to label them I would most definitely go with Psychedelic-Folk, give or take the rock. If this is something you are into then most definitely listen to this album. You will not regret it. And if you don’t believe me on the folk part, then listen to the song I will post at the end.

And if you find yourself in a Yellow House at any point while listening to this album, you’re doing it right.

&)

-oko

P.S. Here ya go folks. This song has probably one of my more favorite lyrical lines. Enjoy.

The Best Songs of 2010: #10: “Excuses” by The Morning Benders

20 Dec

How can you not like number graphics?

And it officially begins. Today is December 20. By December 30 the mystery will be unraveled and the Music Court’s top 10 songs of the year will be revealed. People love lists. Seriously, if I devoted this entire blog to “Best-Of Lists” I would gain a tremendous amount of viewers. For the next 10 days (excluding Sunday the 26) I will list a song a day from today’s #10 to Dec. 30 #1. Let us begin with #10.

Song: “Excuses”

Artist: The Morning Benders

I have been trying to put my finger on what “Excuses” by The Morning Benders sounds like. Well, the #10 song on our list was released in March of 2010 and co-produced by Grizzly Bear bassist Chris Taylor. The Grizzly Bear influence is evident. The song is what happens when you put Spector’s “Wall of Sound” concept and late 60’s light, melodic, British psychedelia into a particle collider and let them hit each other at such a rapid speed that it bends time and travels 40 years and penetrates lead singer Chris Chu. The melodic hook in this song is beyond wonderful…it’s eery.

This is a 5-minute work of genius. Notice how we immediately are introduced to a wacky string section that already hits us with the Grizzly Bear sound. And when they erupt into the acoustic chords and normal string section it is as if we have been sent back in time. The string coordination is beautiful. Chris Chu’s voice appears in the first verse and, just like an ocean wave, douses listeners with water infused with vocal goodness. The harmony prior to the chorus is so British harmonizing it is absolutely scary. The lyric is not shabby either.

The breakdown extends the song’s infectiousness. We have another one that sticks. And, in typical “Wall of Sound” fashion, the breakdown slowly rises into this ultimate crescendo that leads into the powerful last verse where it seems like several voices are pounding into listeners. After listening to the song I felt drenched. This piece starts off our Top 10 well. And, as you can imagine, if this is #10 we have a solid list and 10 days ahead of us. See you all tomorrow.

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