Monday, May 04, 2009

Florence and the Machine

I first heard "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence and the Machine while watching the third season of Skins on Youtube a few months ago. (The 3rd season should air here in the States on BBC America this summer, if anyone's interested...but don't expect it to be at the same level as the first two seasons.) Then I started noticing mentions of Florence and the Machine everywhere. The band, fronted by Florence Welch, has released just two limited singles to critical acclaim in the UK and US, but their debut album, Lungs, will be released July 6.

If you have a fear of carnies/clowns/having glitter thrown in your face, I wouldn't suggest watching the video for this song.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Megafaun, yesssss!

Greetings, dear readers, and we thank those of you who have checked our page EVERY DAY since March hoping for an update of some sort. Those who are patient and persistent will received blessed rewards.

Okay, so I don't really know if that's true, but I just opened a fortune cookie, and that's what IT told me. Who am I to be a doubting Thomas? I shall believe dogmatically in the veracity of my fortune cookie. DOGMATICALLY, I TELL YOU. I can just imagine some wise, whited-beared, ancient sage stuffing the tiny rectangular page into the cookie himself!

Moving onward and upward, here's where we tell you that Red Blondehead has become a bi-yearly publication, meaning of course that we e-publish something twice a year. What that means for you is that you'll only have stuff to read if we really, really think a band is worthy of your attention.

That's where MEGAFAUN come in.

Megafaun is a Raleigh/Durham, NC-based band close to our hearts, close indeed. They won us over in September of 2007 when they came to Birmingham and entertained us with their three-part harmonies and their countrified, half-dark, half-playful gospel tunes before hopping onstage with Akron/Family and holding their own with Brooklyn's famed 'Family. We've been hooked ever since, especially since the recent release of Bury the Square.

Here are two of the tracks from that release as well as a video of the 'Fauns performing "Lazy Suicide" and talking about their music. If you like it, you can pick up Bury the Square from Also, plan to come out and hear them play in Birmingham for the second time on Thursday, June 26th. They'll be performing with Birmingham's Sworn Enemies, another folkish band that has picked up a following in our fair city.

Find Your Mark
His Robe

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Dodos

The Dodos are playing tonight at Bottletree and both Leah and Jackson the Fantastic Bear are super excited about seeing them. So excited that they are spending the day dreaming about how great the show is going to be instead of posting a blog about the band in an effort to spread the good word. Leaving me to post songs and encourage you to come out tonight, even though I did not return from SXSW raving about The Dodos after seeing them twice like a certain (blonde) person did. That's not to say that I wouldn't have returned home singing their praises...if I had actually been able to go to SXSW this year. Does my skin look a little green to you? At least green works with red and purple.

The Dodos - Fools
The Dodos - Red and Purple

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oooh, girl

I can't stop listening to these MGMT tracks. They're so synthtastic and delicious...and they make me feel like I should be skating around a roller disco to fully appreciate their Prince-meets-Bee Gees charm. I like almost all of Oracular Spectacular but I can't resist looping "Electric Feel" and "Kids" over and over..and over.

MGMT - Electric Feel
MGMT - Kids

Download and play the interactive video for "Electric Feel" here. It's like Choose Your Own Adventure!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars in Birmingham

Dirty clothes, fast food, cramped vans, sweaty bandmates that get super annoying, the promise of anywhere from $25 to $500 (most likely the former) to get you to the next city: all of these things make us feel bad for indie bands getting their start in the US. They endure these unpleasant conditions--not to mention having to play some of the most awful clubs imaginable--in city after city as they drive through unfamiliar cities and desolate badlands.

Every now and then, though, a band or group comes around that makes us question the hardships of these often-from-Brooklyn indie bands making their own way. One such group is Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, a West African reggae/hip-hop/Afro-pop group that formed in the squalid and often unsanitary conditions of an honest-to-god refugee camp in Guinea. Like countless other refugees, band members lost wives, were separated from parents, had limbs amputated by rebels--indeed, one member featured in the documentary film was forced to kill his own child before having rebels cut off part of his arm--and were forced to flee from the home most of them had known their whole lives.

And somehow, in the midst of the refugee camps, the musicians found their voice again and began playing to heal. Soon, they were playing to heal others. Documentary footage shows downtrodden refugees smiling and dancing at the sounds made by the all-stars on their second- and third-hand instruments and sound equipment. It wasn't long before the UN invited the musicians to return to their own country--to "look and see" the changes and, most importantly for the band, to record their record to share with the world.

As a result of that trip, we have the Refugee's first album, Living Like a Refugee, released in the US on Anti- Records. As an extended result, the band has gotten the opportunity to tour around the US to share their musical message of love and peace to the thousands who hear them play.

Finally, we have a chance to hear them in Birmingham this weekend. The All Stars will be performing at the Carver Theatre this Sunday night, January 27, at 8:00 p.m. It's rare to have such an opportunity in Birmingham, so we hope to see you all there tomorrow night!

For a taste, here are some songs from the band's 2006 release, Living Like a Refugee:

Soda Soap
Big Lesson
Garbage to the Showglass

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Roses and Tulips and...Goats

Hello, Blue Roses released The Portrait Is Finished And I Have Failed To Capture Your Beauty... yesterday. Like most Dan Bejar projects (this time with vocalist/flautist Sydney Vermont), it's growing on me. I've listened to "Sunny Skies" several times just trying to think of what other song it reminded me of, until I realized it was "This Woman's Work." Am I the only one that hears it?

Hello Blue Roses - Shadow Falls
Hello Blue Roses - Sunny Skies

Headlights is one of my favorite pop bands, so I'm greatly anticipating the release of their next album, Some Racing, Some Stopping on February 19. Their label has released their first single for our listening pleasure, and here it is in all its sweetly jangly bliss.
Headlights - Cherry Tulips

The Mountain Goats will also be releasing Heretic Pride on Feb. 19.
The Mountain Goats - Sax Rohmer #1

Monday, December 31, 2007

Traci's Top 20

All the usual year-end favorites list disclaimers apply to this list: I've arranged this list several times, ranking is somewhat random past the first few albums, ranking varies depending on mood and time of day, please do not consume ranking on an empty stomach. There are a few debut albums on my list, but most are from familiar names.

1. The National - Boxer
The National - Slow Show
The National - Fake Empire

2. Stars - In the Bedroom After the War
Stars - Take Me To the Riot
Stars - The Night Starts Here

3. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Arcade Fire - Antichrist Television Blues
Arcade Fire - Intervention

4. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
Jens Lekman - Your Arms Around Me
Jens Lekman - Into Eternity

5. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon - The Underdog
Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

6. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Iron & Wine - The Devil Never Sleeps
Iron & Wine - White Tooth Man

7. Architecture in Helskinki - Places Like This
Architecture in Helsinki - Hold Music
Architecture in Helsinki - Red Turned White

8. Menomena - Friend and Foe
Menomena - Weird
Menomena - My My

9. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
Beirut - Guyamas Sonora
Beirut - A Sunday Smile

10. The Rosebuds - Night of the Furies
The Rosebuds - I Better Run
The Rosebuds - Cemetery Lawns

11. Feist - The Reminder
Feist - I Feel It All
Feist - My Moon, My Man

12. The New Pornographers - Challengers
The New Pornographers - Myriad Harbour

13. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Andrew Bird - Heretics

14. Pela - Anytown Graffiti
Pela - Anytown Graffiti
Pela - The Trouble With River Cities

15. The Broken West - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
The Broken West - Down In the Valley

16. The Ladybug Transistor - Can't Wait Another Day
The Ladybug Transistor - Always on the Telephone

17. St. Vincent - Marry Me
St. Vincent - Paris is Burning

18. Blonde Redhead - 23
Blonde Redhead - 23

19. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Band of Horses - The General Specific

20. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Okkervil River - Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe

Honorable mentions:
Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Field Music - Tones of Town
Eleni Mandell - Miracle of Five
Through the Sparks - Lazarus Beach

And a few of my favorite songs of 2007 (excluding any included above)
Loney Dear - I Am John
Calvin Harris - The Girls
The Virgins - Rich Girls
Josh Ritter - Rumors
Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew - Lucky Ones
Illinois - Screendoor
Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/Lovesounds
Amy Winehouse - Rehab

Have a happy New Year!

PSA from Jackson the Fantastic Bear: Don't drink and drive or you may be my first afternoon snack of 2008.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jackson's Top Ten (x 2)

Red Blondehead presents:
Jackson the Fantastic Bear's 2007 Top 10 (x 2) - straight from his honey-encrusted claws to your computer screens!

When Traci asked me if I wanted to do a write-up of my favorite albums of 2007, I didn’t even know where to start. I have listened to so much music this year that I couldn’t even remember what was released this year, let alone how much I liked it. So I did what needed to be done… I sorted my music by year, pulled out all the music from 2007, and listened to every single album again. So if the Red Blondehead ladies were wondering why the hell my list was taking so long, that’s why.

After my listening fest, I found myself split between a number of amazing pop records and an even longer list of experimental/electronic/noise/ambient music. I mean, how can you compare Jens Lekman with Boris? You just can’t. No way, no how. So, I made it easy on myself and made two lists that were, nonetheless, just as hard to narrow down.

Albums my father would wear earplugs to:

10. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
Jens Lekman - If I Could Cry (it would feel like this)

9. Akron/Family - Love Is Simple
Akron/Family - Ed is a Portal

8. Prints - Prints
Prints - Blue Jay

7. Caribou - Andorra
Caribou - She's the One
Caribou - Melody Day

6. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
Beirut - A Sunday Smile

5. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

4. Panda Bear - Panda Bear
Panda Bear - Bros

3. Le Loup - The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly
Le Loup - Canto Xxxiv
Le Loup - To The Stars! To The Night!

2. Low - Drums and Guns

1. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends

Albums that would give my father diarrhea:

10. Burial - Untrue

9. Andrew Pekler - Cue

8. Black Dice - Load Blown

7. Stars of the Lid - And the Refinement of Their Decline

6. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

5. Wzt Hearts - Threads Rope Spell Making Your Bones

4. Battles - Mirrored
Battles - Race In

3. Boris with Michio Kurihara - Rainbow

2. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
The Field - A Paw In My Face

1. Pantha Du Prince - This Bliss
Pantha Du Prince - Saturn Strobe

And as a bonus, Jackson did some tinkering on our banner to make it even more awesome!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Leah's favorite albums of the year

It's that time of year again: drunk Santas, reindeer, presents, decorated trees, best-of lists... I'm happy to go first on that last item!

I've got ten favorite albums this year. There were many to choose from, but the way I look at it, the smaller the list, the more prestigious. Or at least rare. I'm going with that, anyway. I tried to choose albums from this year that I'll most definitely be listening to next year (and hopefully beyond that if they hold up as well as others have).

10. CocoRosie - The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn
9. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - Once soundtrack
8. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
7. Levon Helm - Dirt Farmer
6. The Roadside Graves - No One Will Know Where You've Been
5. Akron/Family - Love is Simple
4. Through the Sparks - Lazarus Beach
3. Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
2. The Real Tuesday Weld - The London Book of the Dead
1. The Felice Brothers - Adventures of the Felice Brothers Vol. I

Looking back, I've posted mp3s from most of these albums. Here's a few from the list that were overlooked, though. Oh, and Happy Holidays to you all!

The Real Tuesday Weld - It's a Wonderful Li(f)e
The Real Tuesday Weld - Last Words
The Real Tuesday Weld - Bringing the Body Back Home
Levon Helm - Calvary
Levon Helm - Got Me a Woman
CocoRosie - Japan

Monday, November 12, 2007

Clearing the cobwebs

Wow, it's been a real ghost town around here lately, hasn't it? I had to fight off a dust bunny of gargantuan proportions while tumbleweeds were hot on my heels just to get to the ol' RB. Allow me to dust off the cobwebs and share two albums that I've been enjoying since they were released in early October.

In his most recent album Night Falls Over Kortedala, Jens Lekman swings from orchestral pop, soul, and disco to doo wop and African rhythms, without ever losing his inherent wit and romanticism. It's the romanticism of everyday life, the observance of small moments that are so often overlooked: a haircut, fumbling over words because someone makes you nervous, a heartbeat "beating like Ringo." And somehow Jens makes a story about cutting off the tip of his index finger and bleeding all over the sink because he was surprised by a stealth hug while chopping an avocado sound like one of the sweetest things you've ever heard in "Your Arms Around Me."

Jens Lekman - Your Arms Around Me
Jens Lekman - Into Eternity
Jens Lekman - Kanske Ar Jag Kar i Dig.mp3

And then there's my new favorite band-with-a-name-likely-to-confuse-people-if-heard-instead-of-read: Prints.

"What music are you playing?"
"Wha? That's not my favorite funky 5'2" Purple One!"

While not the product of Minnesota's finest, Prints is the result of Zac Nelson (Who's Your Favorite Sun God) and Kenseth Thibideau (Sleeping People, Pinback) self-recording their brand of eclectic pop in their homes.

Prints - Too Much Water
Prints - Blue Jay

Monday, November 05, 2007

Final Fantasy (and Lylas) tonight!

Don't forget Final Fantasy tonight with Cadence Weapon and RB favorite, Lylas! Owen Pallett was enchanting when he last played at Bottletree, so this promises to be a show not to miss.

A couple of my favorite live tracks from Final Fantasy's Bottletree performance August 24:
Final Fantasy - Hey Dad + The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead (live)
Final Fantasy - Peach Plum Pear (live Joanna Newsom cover)

And check out "Hey Dad" featuring Beirut on Final Fantasy's myspace.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thriller...thriller night

Some pics from the Halloween Josh Ritter show:

As you can see, it was a fun night.
Check out Leah's review over at tinymixtapes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Josh Ritter on Halloween

Kids! It's the day before Halloween!

And where will you be tomorrow night?

Where will Red Blondehead be, you ask?

How awfully kind of you to inquire, dears. This fearsome, firesome duo will be spending the evening at Workplay--in costume, might I add--enjoying performances by Eric Bachmann and current RB favorite Josh Ritter. That's at 8:00 p.m.

Later on that night, Laser's Edge in Homewood, RB's very favorite indie record store, is hosting a supercool Josh Ritter afterparty. Here are the details for that:

What: Post-concert in-store performance/recording and Halloween party
Who: JOSH RITTER and you
Where: Laser's Edge Compact Discs. You know how to get here.
How: Bring your Workplay ticket stub or wrist band or stamped hand to the store, along with some semblance of a Halloween costume for admittance. Those who come dressed without Halloween garb may be forced to wear something of our choosing...cardboard box hats dressed-up with Sharpie art and two holes for eyes are a distinct possibility.
When: Halloween night, around 11:00 pm, immediately following Josh's concert at Workplay
What Else: A GuessTheCharacterFromAPopularSong costume contest, special prizes, refreshments, merry fellowship

Also, many of our costumed peeps will be heading to BottleTree to catch a FREE and freely spectacular show featuring Celebration, Dragons of Zynth, and Lonesome Spirit Device. LOTS to do on Halloween night, kids, so don't stay in and sulk. Put on a goofy-spooky costume and join the thousand eyes of the night!

Now, for a couple of my favorite Josh Ritter songs, just to get you in the mood!

Kathleen from Hello Starling
Come and Find Me from Golden Age of Radio

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stars at the Variety Playhouse - 10/27/07

It is my opinion that Stars is worth driving over 2 hours to see, which is exactly what I did on Saturday when they played the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. I haven't seen them live since the fall of 2005 when they opened for Death Cab at the Tabernacle (also on the Saturday before Halloween). At that time they didn't seem to be very well-known among the showgoers in my general vicinity, but quite a few people were buzzing after their performance. They've certainly become more well-known in the past 2 years, so I was expecting a good turnout for their return to Atlanta. I guess the band wasn't because they expressed their surprise that so many people showed up in a city where they only know 2 people.

Magnet opened and he played a pretty good set but talked too much. I didn't count how many songs he played but it felt like he only played 5 because of his stage patter. I would have been happy to listen to his charming Norwegian accent if he had been the co-headliner but when you're the opener, it's time to get down to business. He also asked for audience participation on practically every song, which was a little annoying.

After a short break, Stars took the stage (which was covered in flowers and artwork) to begin their energetic performance. I don't see how anyone could have left the venue unhappy with their Stars experience because the band's joy in performing is so contagious. Some highlights included the band throwing flowers into the crowd every few minutes, Torq coming on stage in a light-covered coat during "The Ghost of Genova Heights," a lovely version of "Look Up" (which was the song that introduced me to the band in 2003), Amy Millan diving into the crowd, "Elevator Love Song" and "On Peak Hill." I wish that they had played more than one Nightsongs selection and "My Favourite Book" from In the Bedroom, but those are small grievances. It was a fantastic show.

The setlist to the best of my memory:

Take Me to the Riot
Set Yourself on Fire
Elevator Love Song
Ghost of Genova Heights
Bitches in Tokyo
One More Night
Look Up
Soft Revolution
Midnight Coward
Window Bird
Your Ex-Lover is Dead
Sleep Tonight
What I'm Trying to Say
Ageless Beauty
In Our Bedroom After the War

On Peak Hill
Calendar Girl

A few Nightsongs
Stars - Counting Stars on the Ceiling
Stars - My Radio (AM Mix)
Stars - Going, Going, Gone

Friday, October 26, 2007

Long Time, No Blog

There's not been much time for blogging recently with my returning from vacation this week and Leah leaving for one. But I brought you souvenirs from Montreal and L.A. and Brooklyn (and Jersey, whoo! how exotic) to show you how much I missed you!

Pas Chic Chic - Sur les Écrans Statiques
Soft - Dumb Blood
Young Galaxy - Come and See
Saturday Looks Good to Me - Make a Plan
West Indian Girl - To Die in LA
Chromatics - I Want Your Love

Friday, October 12, 2007

John Fitzgerald Page loves Los Campesinos!

I planned to post about Los Campesinos! yesterday but then this fantastically awesome Gawker post and its comments pretty much ruined my productivity for the whole day. (You must click on the link. A coworker and I would randomly break into giggles throughout the day yesterday just thinking about it.)

If I ran a record label, it would be Arts & Crafts. Their taste in pop acts is right in line with my own. And they continued the trend by signing 7-member band Los Campesinos! and releasing their debut EP, Sticking Fingers Into Sockets back in July. They sound like early Architecture in Helsinki, but with less Vegemite (they're from Wales instead of Australia).

Los Campesinos! - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
Los Campesinos! - TheInternational Tweexcore Underground.mp3

Video for "You! Me! Dancing!"

p.s. Seriously, click the Gawker link.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Calling all spazz-dancers!(!!)

Tomorrow night, Red Blondehead presents !!! with The Field at Bottletree for what should be a fun night of electro-dance-punk music. And you know how we like to give away things so the first 30 ticketholders through the door will receive a token of our appreciation. Please spazz-dance responsibly!

!!! - Bend Over Beethoven
!!! - Must Be The Moon

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Felice Brothers

A friend and I caught The Felice Brothers at AA Bondy's CD release party of American Hearts a few weeks ago in Birmingham. I dug up some of their music online (it was initially pretty difficult to find) and loved every second of it, and Scott... er... AA Bondy has good tastes in opening acts.

Good taste in brothers-in-law, too, apparently. The Felice Brothers, hailing from New York state, are the rough-and-tumble brothers of Bondy's lovely missus; they were opening for Bondy, but I'll be damned if they didn't near steal the show.

Five minutes into their set, my friend and I were dancing up a storm and laughing like crazy; the brothers were having just about as much fun as any band I've ever seen. Where did these guys come from? That's what I wanted to know. Soon, others around the country will be asking the same question. An upcoming US tour with Bright Eyes has been announced, and the brothers have also landed an enviable gig with Levon Helm and his Midnight Ramblers. This shouldn't be surprising, as comparisons to Bob Dylan and The Band have been irresistible for reviewers who have listened to these guys:

“Singers of ragged and lovely Catskills harmonies, rickety gospel backporch jams, 19th century medicine show charmers, cheap suit rhapsodizers, watchers of the Nashville skyline, part-time residents and always-welcome houseguests at Big Pink, students of Bob Dylan and Levon Helm, the Partridge Family in pinstripes and scruffy beards.” -stolen from songs:illinois, stolen from Gabe Soria of Vice Magazine

Upcoming Dates:

Wed-Oct-10 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom (supporting Jason Isbell)
Sat-Oct-13 Woodstock, NY Woodstock Film Festival
Sat-Oct-27 Woodstock, NY Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble

With Bright Eyes:

Tue-Nov-06 Memphis, TN Orpheum Theatre
Wed-Nov-07 Birmingham, AL Alabama Theatre
Thu-Nov-08 Charleston, SC The Plex
Fri-Nov-09 Winston Salem, NC Millennium Center
Sat-Nov-10 Norfolk, VA The NorVA
Sun-Nov-11 Washington, DC DAR Constitution Hall
Mon-Nov-12 Wilmington, DE Grand Opera House
Wed-Nov-14 Binghamton, NY Magic City Music Hall
Thu-Nov-15 Rochester, NY Main Street Armory
Fri-Nov-16 Portsmouth, NH The Music Hall
Sat-Nov-17 Providence, RI Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
Sun-Nov-18 Worcester, MA Palladium

Finally, the songs, the songs! These are from The Adventures of the Felice Brothers Vol. I:

Frankie's Gun!
Radio Song
Whiskey in my Whiskey

Find the Felice Brothers on myspace.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Writing sentences composed only of song titles

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oh, Sophia Petrillo!

I was excited to see Biirdie's second album, Catherine Avenue, in my inbox last week because I was a fan of of their last album, Morning Kills the Dark. It looks like Biirdie decided to follow up Morning's "Open Letter to Jenny" (their ode to Jenny Lewis) with a tribute song to Estelle Getty. Well, actually I'm not sure if "Estelle" is really about her, but it should be if it isn't. Because she is awesome and we need more songs in this world written in her honor. In fact, I think I will begin to compose a concept album about Sophia, Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy as soon as I finish this blog.

But back to Catherine Avenue for a moment. Team Clermont describes the album as a collection of "sweeping anthems told in California semi-gloss, with twinges of West Coast Country and big-hearted Southern balladry" and this is an apt description.

Biirdie - Estelle
Biirdie - Him
Biirdie - I Wish I Could've Been There

Catherine Avenue will be released on October 30. Okay, I'm off to write the lyrics to "Picture It, Sicily 1912" and "Back in St. Olaf."