Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Cure for the Summertime Blues

Looking for some fun tunes to take to the beach or for toolin’ around with the top down? Give Passion Pit a listen. They produce energetic, catchy music that will liven up your summer. It all started a couple years ago when Michael Angelakos produced a Valentine’s Day EP for his girlfriend. It eventually got into the hands of his friends, began making the rounds, created a lot of buzz, and ultimately got him a record contract. Passion Pit’s first full length album, Manners, was released in the spring of 2009. The music is joyous, dancy, electronic indie pop. Angelakos often sings in falsetto with layers of high-pitched backup vocals and the songs feature plenty of production value—almost to the point of overproduction. But, I sense that’s the whole point of the music. Perfect for the dog days of summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Taste of India, the Middle East, and Beyond

I'm pretty sure no one here has heard of DJ Cheb I Sabbah. He's a composer and performer who was born in Algeria but has lived in San Francisco since the mid-1980s. Since 1988, Sabbah has presented a series, Africa/India/Arabia, weekly at Nickie's, a popular San Francisco nightclub. His music is an interesting blend of cross-cultural music that is a great introduction to world music for the novice. I've known about DJ Cheb for quite a while and really enjoy this kind of music. I hope you do too. I love fusiony type of music. Especially Indian-jazz blends like Shakti. Enjoy. Once again--feel free to leave comments.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Dude, I can out-obscure you any day."

I was in a restaurant a couple months ago, and i started talking to the waiter about music. We traded obscure band after obscure band until he made the statement, "Dude, I can out-obscure you any day!" So on that note, I'd like to present the group Anathallo.

The seven-piece chamber pop group hails from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. They were formed in 2000 by Matt Joynt and you'll find their music pretty complex and, as usual, hard to describe. They're definitely indie-rock, but have influences from all over the place. Jazz, classical, 60s rock, Traditional Japanese, and they blend it with lots of percussion to create a sound that's all their own. Very intricate vocal arrangements, excellent musicianship, and well-crafted tunes. Some of their songs have a dark edge to them, but most are quite uplifting. Some even sound like they could be part of a mass.

Apparently the band has spent a lot of time on the road but have recently found a home in a church in Chicago. I wish them luck, however it's unfortunate to see a good group leave my home state of Michigan.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Jonatha Brooke is a singer/songwriter I’d definitely put in the category Talent Deserving Wider Recognition. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her perform at the Ark, a small venue in Ann Arbor, Michigan several times, and I have to admit, she’s is one of the most amazing musicians I’ve ever seen in concert. She’s witty, charming, and a great storyteller. Her rapport with the audience is incredible. If you ever get a chance to se her perform live, jump at the opportunity. I can guarantee you, you won’t be disappointed. For some reason, fame has eluded her, which is okay with me—if she was more famous, I’d have a harder time getting tickets to her shows. I’d have a difficult time recommending her best recording since they’re all great. But I guess a good place to start would be either of her live cds. They’re both excellent and give you a sense of what it’s like to see her in person. Although, for some reason the producers decided to leave our her between the songs banter—which is 50 percent of her charm. Her latest disc is a recording of Woody Guthrie poems and unfinished songs he wrote, which Jonatha set to music. One listen and it becomes obvious, the two of them are truly kindred spirits.