Tag Archives: 2012

Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 Preview Pt. 1

As is tradition for me around this time (almost) every year, I take off to Chicago to catch the Pitchfork Music Festival that has been happening every year since 2006 in Union Park. Though I didn’t have a chance to go last year, due to an expensive cross country move that I was going to be partaking a month after the festival, I am excited to return to the tradition again this year. Just as I did in 2010 I’m going to break the weekend up into 3 posts, one for each day of the fest, detailing each of the acts that I am looking forward to catching and hopefully helping you to discover some new acts even if you aren’t going to the festival. With any luck I’ll be able to update after each day of the fest to inform you as to what exactly went down, with links to any pictures and video (of at least reasonable quality) that I can find.

Friday July 13, 2012:

Tim Hecker, with the release of “Ravedeath 1972” in February 2011, blew pretty much everyone away with his expansive ambient drones. For me, as someone that doesn’t normally sit and listen to ambient music, there is something very intriguing about the sound of this album. It’s dense, complex, gritty, it may seem simple on the surface but there is a lot to dig in to. It’s an album to which I keep returning. I’m looking forward to his performance on Friday, but I’m also a little bit nervous that his brand of atmospherics may get lost to an outdoor venue. There’s a lot of subtlety to his music that may be hard to grasp in an open air venue. Typically the crowd at the festival knows (I’m making an assumption here based on my own personal feelings after years of attending) the music fairly well so I’m sure it will go as well as it can, but there is still a chance that it will end up like the disastrous (and BORING!) Panda Bear set from 2010.


Japandroids, are definitely not ones to disappoint. After the release of their first album “Post-Nothing” this Vancouver duo played the side stage of the festival in 2009. The energy of their songs and the catchiness of their hooks seemed to endear them to everyone. Every shout along chorus seemed familiar and inviting even to those in the crowd that may have only come to know the band that day. Not much has changed in the 3 years since that album was released. They have a new LP out, the aptly titled “Celebration Rock”, that is perhaps the best release of the year so far. The new one is even more exciting than the last, and that Japandroids have spent the majority of their time on the road has certainly helped. There is no question that this set will be fantastic, though I can’t hide my disappointment and frustration that Pitchfork has decided to once again relegate them to the smaller stage.

[audio:http://quartertonality.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/07.-The-House-That-Heaven-Built.mp3|titles=The House That Heaven Built]

Dirty Projectors seem to be in step with Japandroids. The last time we heard from Dave Longstreth and company was the same summer that the Vancouver duo released “Post-Nothing”. Both albums fought for my attention that summer, and neither one surpassed the other in listens. I loved (and still do love) “Bitte Orca”, and being that a stream of the latest Dirty Projectors album, “Swing Lo Magellan”, was just released yesterday (and it sounds fantastic) I’m sure this will be another hard fought battle for the summer. The official release date for the album comes just before the festival (July 10 on Domino Records), and may push Japandroids around for their spot as “best release of 2012 so far”. But all that is ok. This will also be a repeat performance, as they played in support of “Rise Above” in 2009 just before the official release of “Bitte Orca”. That was my first ever introduction to the band, and now that I am more familiar with their stuff (as is everyone else) I’m sure to get a lot more out of it.

As for the rest of the performances on the first day of the festival, I have never really been the biggest fan of Feist. I found “The Reminder” quite boring and because of that I haven’t even bothered checking out her new one, “Metals”. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised.  Though earlier in the day I am going to have to check out The Olivia Tremor Control as they have been in the back of my mind forever as a band that I definitely need to check out. All that I know about them is that they are one of the original bands in the Elephant 6 collective. That alone is enough to get my attention. I also realize that I lose about a million hipster cred points for not checking them out sooner.



Video: Sharon Van Etten – "Leonard"

(Post originally appeared on Tympanogram on March 9, 2012)

I’m still beating myself up over the fact that I wasn’t able to turn out a review for the newest, and stunningly beautiful, Sharon Van Etten LP Tramp. She’s currently on tour, and the album has been getting deservedly rave reviews. If you have not checked it out yet here is the latest video for the song “Leonard.” Don’t let the seemingly upbeat guitar strumming fool you, this song is about heartbreak. Van Etten sings “he’s smart, he leaves me wanting more, knowing that I gave less and knowing why” and it becomes clear that nobody is the bad guy here, or perhaps they both are. She sings with a longing in her voice, delicately calling out “I love you,” and one could easily imagine her reaching out, hoping for him to turn around and reconsider. That the song ends melodically and harmonically unresolved gives us a sense that she’s still holding out hope.

It’s a beautiful song, and the video’s kaleidoscopic, mirrored imagery perhaps hints at the confusion felt on her part as she re-examines the entire relationship from every possible angle, which only results in more unresolved confusion.

Her tour will likely come to a city near you, as she has dates booked clear through the summer, though there appears to be a few gaps that will likely get filled in so check her tour page hereTramp is out now on Jagjaguwar.

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album preview: of Montreal – Paralytic Stalks

(post originally appeared on December 19, 2011 on Tympanogram.com)

I’ve been a fan of of Montreal since hearing the Icons Abstract Thee EP that came out following their amazing, pace-setting album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?They also hold the honor of putting on, by far, the best live shows I have ever been lucky enough to witness. They change directions pretty wildly with each new album and I have stuck with them through it all. Nothing can quite compare to what I think of as their classics, but I’m always excited by an artist that puts out consistently challenging, new sounding material that follows no path but its own. No other band out there today sounds quite like of Montreal.

In 2011 they released an EP entitled The Controllersphere that was to False Priest what the Icons Abstract Thee EP was to Hissing Fauna… It was a collection of loud, boisterous noise funk jams that picked up where the previous album had left off. Now Kevin Barnes and Co. are doing another 180 with forthcoming album Paralytic Stalks on Polyvinyl. One song, “Wintered Debts,” has been released so far to let us know what to expect. It’s an extended jam that clocks in at over 7 minutes and sounds, to me, like the band is heading back to the direction of Skeletal Lamping – songs that are extended, chopped up, free-form and as far out there as one could possibly hope for, while still retaining the sound of the band.

Polyvinyl, in their infinite wisdom, is prepping us for the new album with a sampler “video” on youtube. It’s not as much a video as it is just the cover art with a sample from each of the songs played underneath. It sounds like it could be the most varied, introspective and wild album of the of Montreal opus with the usual literate lyrics, meticulously orchestrated, and for lack of a better term weirdness. The album is available for pre-order now and will be released on February 7th on limited edition colored 2xlp vinyl from polyvinyl. Don’t miss out.

[audio:http://quartertonality.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/07-of-Montreal-Wintered-Debts.mp3|titles=of Montreal – Wintered Debts]