Warehouse Eyes

There are indeed people who will shriek away from the description “dream pop” and I wonder since when dreams and pop have become something, well, not sinister, but cheap. It could also mean lovely music that makes you daydream – ethereal sounds – perfect in other words.

This is what Warehouse Eyes do: Exquisite music that opens up slowly and does not begin to fade after repeated listening. Add to that lyrics about heartbreak and hallucinations (sic!) and a delicate haunting voice and you are almost there.

No, hold on, this does not sound right…I just wanted you to get rid of that sugary chart pop image. Seriously, Warehouse Eyes are not all about serene beauty either. Because here are musicians that write the lyrics first, low and behold, and then fit the music around it to express the meanings and moods of the lyrics. They find that synthesizers open up a whole new world to do that. Anyhow, sometimes life is not pretty and the lyrics are not pretty accordingly and their music strifes to express that.

Jennie Lahlum on vocals and synths together with Christopher Williams on vocals, keys and synths started out in Minneapolis, USA. A couple, they come from very different musical backgrounds and tastes. The former classics/jazz and bands such as Radiohead, the latter from real American/Rock. Both studied music, but throw their knowledge out of the window when they write songs to have maximum freedom and at the same time the tools at their disposal.

Warehouse Eyes did cover songs and their own simple songs. But then they discovered that their songs would ask for more and developed into a five-piece band. (Kevin Scott on bass, Matt Vannelli on guitar and Alex Young on drums). Sometimes the original duo performs their songs in smaller venues on their own still.

Subsequently their debut EP “Carvings” was released in 2014 and they are now working on “Prisms” which will be released this year.

I am totally in love with their song “Tokyo” which you can find below.

Contact Warehouse Eyes on their website, Facebook, everywhere. Their website btw also features their lyrics which play such an important part in their music.

And here’s Tokyo. Allegedly, German Eurochannel sports channel TV viewers know this…ah, football fans at a distinct advantage here, knowing the song much earlier. Strange.

And here is the heavier “Give me a light”, enjoy and good night!

Kurt Vile

You know that attitude of some fans of alternative music? A band becomes bigger – they are not selling out; their music does not become unbearable; they do not become nasty or pontificating. They just become better known, hit the charts, play in bigger venues. And  then indie nerd has had it! They are no longer interesting to him/her. Is it that the proud parent momentum is lost and the other fans are unworthy? I truly cannot answer that question.

Look at The War On Drugs: Yes, their album “Lost In The Dream” is selling like hot cakes and gets praised to the moon (deservedly so, I think). They tour and tour and sell the venues out like nothing (again, deservedly so). Promptly critics wail, on the forefront a certain Mark Kozelek. Aaaaaalriiiiight, maybe they just don’t like the music…fair enough, then do not listen.

What is Kurt Vile supposed to say? Starting out with The War On Drugs and leaving after their first album “Wagon Wheel”, he missed out on all the fun. Granted he, now a family man, would not be able to do that kind of touring schedule for more than a year. And maybe he will be adored by all the above-mentioned indie nerds who find him just in the right-sized venues. But Kurt Vile does not need that. Such passion, such an output of music. And he will know himself that a lot of the limelight is sheer luck (and so does Adam Granduciel of TWOD and is grateful for it). Plus, it was only last year when Adam joined the Violators on stage and later, Kurt did the same for The War On Drugs. Yes, we were a very blessed audience that night.

Kurt Vile - Pukkelpop by Alice Peter-Burns

But nevertheless, I find it is time that we write about Kurt Vile (and I have no problem at all with writing whole novels on The War on Drugs). Simply for the reason that for those who have missed Kurt Vile in their lifes, here’s your Saturday night treat!

Summed up (I do want to come to the music!):

Kurt, who is in his mid-thirties, of course is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and is strongly connected to his hometown. He hooked up with Adam Granduciel over their love of Dylan on travels and they then set out as The War on Drugs. After the album “Wagon Wheel”, Kurt Vile left to form The Violators (Jesse Trbovich – guitars, bass guitar, saxophone, since forever; Rob Laakso – guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, various instruments, since 2011; Kyle Spence – drums, percussion, since  2013) All is on very good terms between The War on Drugs and The Violators!

He has done five albums so far: Constant Hitmaker (2008), God Is Saying This To You (2009) and  then, on Matador, Child Prodigy (2009), Smoke Ring For My Halo (2011) and Wakin On A Pretty Daze (2013). A number of EPs complete the large oeuvre.

He comes from a large family and his first instrument was a banjo, even though he wishes it had been a guitar. But he realised that that was what he wanted in life: Music. Always having to work, tough jobs with no college career up his sleeve and on top of it a little shy for the working-class world, it cannot have been easy.

Even nowadays, he’s frank to admit, that he would like to make more money, after all, he has a family to support. He also would like to be more famous in the sense that he simply can communicate what he lives for with more people. He also discovered that some people (see above) tut-tut at that but he is grown-up and he is right, I think.

To some he comes across as a slacker, but the man is eloquent, friendly, loves his family and Philadelphia and is a hard worker, almost obsessive.

Vile released two albums, Constant Hitmaker (2008) and God Is Saying This to You… (2009), before signing to Matador Records, in May 2009, and releasing Childish Prodigy that same year. In 2011, Vile released his fourth studio album, Smoke Ring for My Halo, which significantly increased his exposure. His fifth studio album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, was released in 2013.

Joy, oh joy, Kurt is currently working on a new album, the release of which could be later in the year! And I have not even mentioned that he also works together with the unbelievably gifted Steve Gunn.

Shall we have some music?

Have a good weekend!

Hudson and Troop

I know, I know, where is my next blog? So much to do, so little time. But I gladly sit here tonight to pen something on Hudson and Troop! Of course not only because I simply cannot resist the goodies from the Melbourne music scene.

Hudson and Troop would at least suggest two people but there is mainly Travis Aulsebrook who hails from Western Australia and only came to Melbourne in 2011 to excel as singer-songwriter and straightaway releasing his EP Open Up Slowly (find it under the name “Hudson”). It is likely that you have come across even the first single “Against The Grain” as its video went viral on YouTube and Vimeo.

Perfectionist that he is, it took Travis Aulsebrook, alias Hudson and Troop, two years to complete his second EP The Undertow which presents yummily delicate folk-pop that despite its perfectionism is anything but sterile and cold. It already shows first hints of added instrumentation such as synths and horn sections.

And then came Pip Norman, producer and artist and added synths (analog) and experimentation to the folk-pop. A new single is out: “Frameless” accompanied by a video with a creature (signing the lyrics in AUSAN no less)  developed by a team of very high calibre (The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings).

I love Hudson and Troop‘s own description of: ” We throw sonic colours at a wall, they sometimes stick”. Sonic colours – that encapsulates for me the feeling I get from their music: Touching all the senses.

You know the sad feeling when you are nearing the end of a brilliant book that of course you rushed through, could not wait to get back home to? This is Hudson and Troop’s music…but thankfully there is so much to discover, it will last a good while! And it has that distinctive charm of a lot of Australian music, that delicious sunny sadness.

Contact Hudson & Troop on Twitter @hudsonandtroop or on Facebook which will lead you to more, above all Soundcloud.

And here it comes:

First up “Against the Grain”, the very first single, with that awesome video. Don’t forget the beauty of the song behind it though!

From the second EP I would like to present “One & One”:

And here is the new single “Frameless”!

Liu Bei

What it is like to work for a non-commercial radio station? Well, it is a lot of, er, work that we do enjoy immensely, however. And it is unpaid which of course we do not enjoy a lot. Then again, we live without playlists which is wonderful. We are right there at the pulse of music and music pulses our blood if I may say so clumsily poetically on the first spring-like Saturday evening of this year.

Thus, I may mutter *beep* if the BIG radio presenters were quicker than me playing a band. In this case of course it was Steve Lamacq of the Beeb and that makes it alright. Steve may….not that he would bother to ask me:-)

Getting there, getting there: The band in question was Liu Bei. Liu Bei is not a Chinese singer but a London band counting five members. They got their name from a radio documentary about a Chinese (kind-hearted, very tall) warlord.

Richard, singer and guitarist, joined the band (who were about to chuck it in) after touring relentlessly with three albums up his sleeve on his ownio and did not want to go along alone. Lucky coincidence, that.

The songs do derive from what Richard finds inspirational and that can be a reading a book or a listening to songs that make him want to be just as good or he walks or indeed he can party to shut down the brain for a bit. He does find that sometimes as much as restrictions pain you, you have to set yourself certain boundaries to find your way, too. Much like All We Are explained it, see the post on them in this blog.

As swimming pool echoes Liu Bei describe their music. I find that very fitting – there is a dreamlike, surreal quality to their songs. Or maybe it is because of the floor of their studio? Anyhow, anyone who quotes Mazzy Star and the Cocteau Twins as influences, is stuck on my record player with gaffer tape already.

The music leaves you to discover always something new in the songs, there’s danceable bits, addictive guitar sounds, wee extras and above all a really good voice. Add to that lyrics that go straight to the heart and there you have Liu Bei. I heard they are not to be missed live as well.

Their new EP “Goodness” is out on Museumgoer Records and is available in all the usual places. This year is starting well!

Visit Liu Bei on their website www.liubeiwins.com which will lead you to their Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Twitter etc. homes.

Here is their debut single “Infatuation” and you better get those Sharon van Etten hankie bags out, I swear, touching your heart with hot knives but it feels good.

(I wanted to put up the audio, then saw the video, that’s it, tears streaming down…)

And then we have two songs from the new EP “Goodness”. First up the title track:

And then the gorgeous “Fields” with Rachel Goswell from Slowdive: