Tag Archives: Phoenix

The Visual Music of Vincent Moon

So I was going to put up a dry concert watch of all the hip-hop-happenings in New York’s backyard this month, but I’ve just spent the last two hours rediscovering one of my favorite music video producers, so I thought I’d share him with you.

Vincent Moon, a.k.a. Mathieu Saura

His name is Vincent Moon, and he is a contributor to the French music blog, La Blagotheque. Now I don’t speak much French outside of  “j’mapelle pamplemousse”, so navigating around the blog is a lot of fun for me, but here’s what I’ve figured out: Moon (born Mathieu Saura) loves taking bands out from the natural habitats and films them playing super stripped down versions of their songs. Most of the time, this is for portability – because he loves shooting on the move, or as he calls it, “nomadic filmmaking”.

He’s filmed an astonishing number of artists and bands, from the obscure (like De Kift, the Dutch tuba-loving oompah rock band) to the upper-echelon indie (e.g. The Arcade Fire and Andrew Bird). Since his first video with The Spinto Band in 2006, the crispness of these recordings has really bloomed (thanks in part to great hosting provided by Vimeo).

His videos are charming, worldly, and seem to capture the essence of the artists in a way that surprises even the artists themselves. Spontaneity is valued above all else, and the results of his devotion to that aspect of the process are fantastic.

Here is one of his first videos, filmed in Paris with the sunny British pop group, The Kooks, of “She Moves in Her Own Way” fame:

At the end of the video, singer Luke Pritcher is in disbelief about the crowd they gathered, as they walked through a local high school. “That was the most insane thing I’ve ever done,” you can hear him saying.

Here’s one that takes the idea of a journey in a whole different direction. This is the supremely talented folk singer Elvis Perkins strolling the streets of Paris armed with just a guitar and a hat. If you choose to watch any of these videos, this is definitely the one to watch.

A still from Vincent Moon's "Take Away Show" with Elvis Perkins, singing "While You Were Sleeping"


It’s a quietly observant song, as Elvis Perkins slowly and thoughtfully takes in the city around him. The camera work here is incredible, and glances at the camera from the kids and adults passing by really stick with you long after they’ve left the frame.

Finally, here’s a big fish. Everyone’s favorite band, Phoenix, performing a rock-solid version of their single “1901” at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It is just beautiful and optimistic.

And last, but certainly not least: The Arcade Fire, a band that’s gotten a lot of attention on this blog recently, but this video is too incredible to be left out.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… eight people in the band cram into a freight elevator minutes before a show to do a rendition of the “Neon Bible” that looks as claustrophobic as the song feels. In a good way, of course. Then the band solemnly walks into the middle of their crowd to perform their hit “Wake Up”. It’s incredible:

This kind of experimentation is what music is all about.

Happy Listening!

~Josh

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CONCERTS THIS WEEK IN NY’S BACKYARD:

Joan Osbourne tonight! She played at The Peak’s Pleasantville Music Festival
.    two years ago or so. Catch her again at 7:30 at the Julia Miles Theater in NYC.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are playing at Ridgefield Playhouse this Friday
.    at 8pm.
The Allman Brothers are playing United Palace at 7pm the same day, and again
.    Saturday night.
And you can catch Blue Oyster Cult (classic) this coming Saturday as well at 7:30
.    at BB King’s Blues Club.

Happy hunting!

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PEAK KEYWORD: Pamplemousse

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10 Categories, 10 Albums – 100% Awesome: The 2009 Record of Records

As the holiday season is coming to a close, the last throes of Christmas music are making their way over the airwaves. I heard a whimsical song yesterday called “Merry Christmas Baby, Please Don’t Die” (a joint effort by Crocodile and the Dum Dum Girls) and it put me in a great mood, something good tunes often do. So as you’re ringing in the year, I hope some of these records, and the tunes on them, jangle something in your aorta and make you excited about great world class rock. So here are ten whimsical categories, in no real order, and ten great albums that fit ’em. Ok, enough said. Let’s get started.

10. Peak Pick: Chris Herrmann’s Fav

Album: Wilco (The Album)
Band: Wilco
Why: Ok, so I haven’t talked to Chris on this one, but as the Peak’s Program director, he deserves a spotlight. He’s said to me that he wants to be remembered as the guy who brought Wilco to the Peak. And Jeff Tweedy & Co. are making it easier and easier for him to do that. They’ve come a long way since some of their rawer albums, broadening their sound and reaching a huge audience. This album’s a great step up from their last Sky, Blue Sky – and definitely one to check out from this year.
Starter Tracks: “You Never Know”, “One Wing” and “Wilco (The Song)”

9. Best Sound


Album: The Satanic Satanist
Band: Portugal. The Man
Why: The first track on the album, “People Say”, has got everything you could want from a solid rock song – a great hook, tight guitar, organ, and it only gets better from there. “Work All Day” sinks into a subterranean world of soul. And later on, “Do You” almost outshines the rest of the album with it’s burning intensity. The drum and guitar tracks and the vocals and well, pretty much everything sounds great on this album.
Starter Tracks: “Work All Day”, “Do You” and “The Sun”

8. Greatest Expectations

Album: Them Crooked Vultures
Band: Them Crooked Vultures
Why: With great names comes great responsibility. And few names hold star power like John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl, and Josh Homme do. That being said almost everyone who was waiting for the release of this record held almost impossibly high hopes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great record, but people were going to be disappointed if it fell anywhere short of Led Zeppelin II or Nevermind. But a sick record nonetheless, that finds a great rock ‘n’ roll groove and holds it’s own from start to finish.
Starter Tracks: Three great songs in a row: “Elephants”, “Scumbag Blues” and “Bandoliers”

7. Funnest

Album: I Think We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat
Band: The Brighton Port Authority (The BPA)
Why: Yes. You, me and everyone knows that “funnest” is not a word (and OK, “You, everyone and I”). But there’s not a better way to describe this Fatboy Slim project. With each song on the album featuring a different artist, this record is fun times from start to finish. Sure some of the songs may not be “good” (see psych pop singer Connan Mockasin’s track “Jumps the Fence” – mostly because he sings the same seven words for a whole minute) but all are poppy and catchy and most importantly fun to listen to.
Starter Tracks: “He’s Frank” (feat. Iggy Pop), “Toe Jam” (feat. David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal) and “Seattle” (feat. Emmy the Great)

6. Smallest Size, Biggest Punch

Album: Our Living Funeral
Band: Zombie Season
Why: The resurgence of Lo-Fi + An inventive take on the Arcade Fire’s sound + zombies = the essence of awesomeness. Zombie Season is a small, nearly unheard of band (compare Zombie Season’s 14,400 views on MySpace to Coldplay’s 34 million, Aimee Mann’s 1.4 Million or even Black Taxi’s 120,000). ZS was created only last year by Ali Jafaar out of the University of Minnesota. But don’t mess with them just because they’re small. They’ve got a powerfully dark sound, and a solid two records out. Our Living Funeral is a great follow-up to their 2008 EP, “Life is Tragic”. So they’re definitely worth a listen.

Starter Tracks: “Evil Heart” off of Our Living Funeral and “Slow Out” and “Heart Attack” off of “Life is Tragic”

5. Most Over-the-Top

Album: The Resistance
Band: Muse
Why: For most people who’ve heard this album, this one is pretty self explanatory. For those who haven’t, I think their over-the-topness can be best portrayed by a walkthrough of their song, “I Belong to You (+ Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix)”. So, 0:00 to 0:13 – poppy piano and sensuous crooning from Matt Bellamy. 0:14 – cue the full chorus and bell tree. 0:22 – a full showtunes-y glissando on the piano leads into the first verse. 2:08 – the song fades into an aria from the French opera, Samson and Delilah, sung in full voice by Bellamy 3:13 – the drums come back in and an orchestra joins the chorus as Bellamy’s voice spirals upwards. 4:35 – the glissando marks the return to the main song with a bouncy bass clarinet solo. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The first time I heard that part I laughed out loud. Only Muse could pull it off, and only Muse deserves this category.

Starter Tracks: “I Belong to You (+ Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix)”, “Uprising” and “Exogenisis: Symphony, Pts. 1-3”

4. Indiest

Album: THREE WAY TIE: Veckatimest, Merriweather Post Pavillion, and xx
Bands: Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, and The xx respectively
Why: This year, Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective have dominated indie charts and minds. Stereogum ran an article back in January pre-empting Merriweather Post Pavillion as the best album of 2009, and Veckatimest has been hot on the trail ever since its May release. But the sleeper here is the London-based group, The xx, a band so cool that they don’t need to move in their music videos. Their first record, xx, placed above both other bands on Rolling Stone’s 25 Best Albums of 2009, reaching the 8th spot. Take a listen, and you’ll be drawn in by the quiet intensity held in every pause in their lyrics.
Starter Tracks: Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks”, Animal Collective’s “My Girls”, and The xx’s “Crystalised”

3. Most Innovative

Album: Agressively Humble
Band: Chll Pll
Why: “I’ve never experienced a man like you.” “That’s because I’m not a man I’m a [blowing noise that sounds like a rainbow]”. This is how Chll Pll (formed by Zac Nelson of Hexlove and Zach Hill of Wavves), starts off their debut album, Aggressively Humble. But there’s not a lot of humility to be found here. The album is subtitled “Ten Rips by Chll Pll”, which is certainly more accurate. The Zac(h)s tear their way through distortion, polyrhythms, and plenty of electronic effects. It’s out there for sure, but that’s no reason to not embrace a band that’s too cool even for vowels.
Starter Tracks: “Dick Moves”, “She Owns”, “Pass Out”

2. NY’s Best Backyard Album

Album: Things of That Nature
Band: Black Taxi
Why: ’nuff said.
Starter Tracks: “Up Here For Thinking, Down There For Dancing”, “Pretty Mama” and “Shoeshine”

1. Most Likely to Be Compared to a Meteor: 2009’s Record of Records

Album: Wolfgang Amadeus
Band: Phoenix
Why: A few reasons. First: just months after Wolfgang Amadeus was released, a remixes album was put out. Second: artists who contributed this remix album include Animal Collective, Chairlift, and Passion Pit. Third: It is Time Magazine’s 5th best album of the year, Rolling Stone’s 3rd, and it generally placed between 10 and 1 on other charts, usually on the 1 side of the spectrum. Now, I’m not a huge phoenix fan (disclosure: on their track, “1901” I thought the hook  was “balling” instead of “falling” but it makes much more sense now) but I can appreciate catchy music when I hear it. And they’re the first French band to click over here in a long time. So when I watch ticket prices for their sold-out shows rising steadily, I can tell you that next year is only going to be better and bigger for this band.

Starter Tracks: “1901”, “Lisztomania” and “Love Like a Sunset Pts. 1 & 2”

So that just about wraps up this decade. As always, check back here for news about bands, records and of course, the station bringing you World Class Rock, 107.1 The Peak. Have a safe and happy new year.

Best,

~Josh

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PEAK KEYWORD: 2010

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Concert Watch September 2009

Okay, to kick things off here at the Blog – we’ve got a whole slew of great concerts in New York’s Backyard this month.

The Black Crowes in 2009

The Black Crowes in 2009

Tonight The Black Crowes are playing a full park at Summerstage with Levon Helm. We’re sending some lucky listeners out to see the show and we hope they enjoy it! You may have heard that Levon has been easing up on his voice lately. At Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, CT in July he was completely forbidden from singing by his doctor. But apparently he will grace the crowd at Central Park with a few songs this evening. And speaking of voices, David Holt, one of the listeners who will be at the show, told us that Westchester Medical Center is going to be featuring his voice in an upcoming spot for the air. If you miss the show tonight, don’t worry. The Crowes will be playing again tomorrow night at the Capitol One Bank Theatre in Westbury.

We also have some listeners going to see the Killers play this evening at the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey. They just came off of a great show last night at the Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach and are sure to wow the crowd again tonight.

YPB t-shirt designed by Elvis Perkins
YBP t-shirt designed by
Elvis Perkins

Also tonight, one of my favorite artists, Elvis Perkins, will be playing with Ra Ra Riot at The Housing Works Bookstore in New York City. Ra Ra Riot, as you know, played the first night of All Points West, smack dab between The Fleet Foxes and The National. In any case, the tickets are $15 but I highly suggest you check it out because all proceeds are going to support the Yellow Bird Project (YBP), and their release of the Indie Rock Coloring Book. If you haven’t heard of YBP, they “harness [bands’] magical indie powers to help out those in need” by letting bands have a hand at designing t-shirts which they sell on their website. Check them out!

Red Molly, a hidden gem at The Pleasantville Music Festival, will be playing on September 7th at another festival, the American Roots Outdoor Festival in Piermont, NY. They’re an acoustic folk trio featuring three women, and they’ve got a great sense of humor and a very acute sensibility to their music.

And the Kings of Leon are coming to town! Catch them first at the IZOD center on September 12th, and then at Nassau Colisseum on September 14th. You’ve heard “Use Somebody” and “Sex On Fire” recently on The Peak, but if you take a trip back a few albums you’ll find the hilariously dirty “Soft” on Aha Shake Heartbreak. And if you’re thinking about going, don’t forget to brush up on “Molly’s Chambers,” their first single off of their very first studio album Youth and Young Manhood.

Mike Gordon

Mike Gordon

And there’s plenty more: Mike Gordon of PHISH will be performing on Tuesday the 8th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Mike will be sure to play some cuts off of his latest 2008 record The Green Sparrow, as well as some other great hits.

For all Beatles fans out there the Fab Faux will be headlining a show at the Beacon Theatre on September 12th. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “cerebral,” and appearing on David Letterman at the beginning of the year, the Fab Faux are a great way to re-hear the music of the Beatles.

And it continues! The Decemberists will be playing two shows: one on the 19th at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza with a special set chosen by lottery, and the other on the 22nd at the Wellmont Theatre in New Jersey. Snow Patrol will be working their way through their U.S. tour (with a minor detour to Canada) by playing two shows at the Beacon Theatre on the 22nd and 23rd.

Pheonix

Pheonix

Also, be sure not to miss the fantastic French newcomers Pheonix at Rumsey Playfield on the 25th, as well Mat Kearney also coming to Irving Plaza on the 29th. (Note: Mat  Kearney is not to be confused with Pat Carney, the drummer for the Black Keys who recently formed his own solo project, Drummer, in which he plays bass. Talk about confusing.)

Loudon and Lucy
Loudon and Lucy

And that’s not even the half of it! Get the full concert listing on the Peak’s website. For example, Rodrigo y Gabriela, the Latin influenced guitar duo are coming to town, as well as Loudon Wainwright III, who will be playing a show the HighLine ballroom on the 15th with son and daughter Rufus and Martha Wainwright. And if that wasn’t already enough of a family affair, The Roches will be playing with them. The Roches are formed by Loudon’s third child, Lucy, plus his wife Suzzy, and sisters-in-law Terre and Maggie. If you’re confused at this point, don’t worry, I am too. I promise I will draw a family tree and post it ASAP.

U2

U2

And how could this concert watch be complete without mention of U2 playing at Giants Stadium? The shows will be on the 24th and 25th. To make their apprearances even sweeter, The Peak will be sending some listeners to the shows. Stop by the Listener Advisory Board from September 8th through the 18th to sign up.

All of this and more to come throughout September. Again, check out our full concert listing on the Peak’s website by clicking here.

And if you’re not concert-going enjoy the last weeks of summer, which I guess means more rain.

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