Broken Deer Polaraura Self-Released Releasing an album means recording, mixing, mastering, and sharing a piece of yourself through music -- and the way all that happens can be unbelievably revealing. In Broken Deer's experimental, ghostly, and cassette-recorded fifth release, Polaraura, we get a unique window into Lindsay Dobbin's musical temperament as well as her natural and spiritual concerns. At the same time breathlessly intimate and palpably alienating, Dobbin's music invites external forces in while still keeping itself closed off, lending an interesting dichotomy to Polaraura's collection of fluctuating sounds and melodies.

 

Junip Junip (2013) Mute Records On their self-titled full length sophomore release, Junip stake a definitive claim into the world of indie folk. As a band, Junip have been in existence for over a decade, but the fact that this is only their second album (the first, Fields, came out in 2010), is quite unusual. Junip made a few EPs early on, and took a break for lead singer Jose Gonzalez to launch a solo career. His hauntingly beautiful cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" made music audiences take pause, and Gonzalez quickly reached levels of stardom that solo musicians only hope to achieve. Fast-forward a few years, and Junip's following has increased exponentially. This is notably quite a role-reversal. It is much more often the case that a lead singer of a popular band splits off on his own; but rarely does a band's status rise after their lead singer's does, and it was refreshing to see Gonzalez happily return to Junip. It takes merit to not get carried away in a moment of fame, although this never seemed to be his game. The musician always gave off a shy, humbled air -- one that was appreciative, introspective, and even a tad mysterious. He is not outspoken, and every move is deliberate. What Gonzalez brings to the table is his unique ability to sound quiet and forcefully loud at the same time. It's what makes him one of the more gifted vocalists of the past 10 years, and also highlights how he adds to this sense of balance throughout Junip, which contains a similar earnest, deliberate quy throughout, but without deference to the fame of Gonzalez.

 

As the mountainous ribs of southern Siberia, the republic of Tuva breathes with a culture of inherent symbiosis. The expansive region rests at the true heart of Central Asia, brushed by the ancient carcass of the Sayan Mountains that rumble alongside the eastern steppe, the rigid Altai peaks that hover over winding plateaus to the west, and the Mongolian border to the south. At this intersection of Asian lands and traditionally semi-nomadic cultures, a legendary form of music continues to cultivate creative expression, spirituality, and, through adaptation, modern experimentation.
The music of any region is the skin of its culture. Its texture, wrinkles, and colors stretch over flesh, bone, and spirit. Within the open palm of Central Asia, Tuva holds a musical tradition that has been quietly capturing the imagination of the world and which is among the most awe-inspiring vocal arts to have persisted to this day. Also known as overtone singing, and colloquially as khoomei, throat singing is a style of vocal performance that allows a singer to deliver two or more notes simultaneously, while the pitch is naturally controlled by the lips and throat. Overtone singing can be heard in many cultures: for instance, in some isolated regions in Canada's Arctic; within the Xhosa communities of South Africa; among the Chukchi; and in the memory of the Ainu art of Rekuhkara. Tuva's throat singing, however, is unlike any other in the world.
Jump to: 1. From the Lungs of Central Asia 2. Between Political and Folk Narrative 3. Transcending Place 4. Music as the Frequency of Spiritual Experience 5. Continuing Exploration and Growth Alash River, Tuva Republic. Photography by Konstantin Mikhailov
"For Tuvans, I would say, khoomei expresses thought within the field of sound. And that is why, for the majority of Tuvans — even those who do not sing but only listen — it evokes associations with the sounds of nature, while for the performers, as they sing, it would be native lands, mountains, steppe, taiga, and so on." - Choduraa Tumat, Tyva Kyzy
"Но у тувинцев, я бы сказала, хоомей выражается как мышление в звуковом пространстве. И поэтому у большинства тувинцев, даже у тех кто не поет а только слушает, при слушании возникает ассоциация со звуками природы. А у самих исполнителей при пении явная визуализация природы: родные места, горы, степь, тайга и т.д." - Чодураа Тумат, Тыва Кызы
 

Amassing rare and forgotten music is a peculiar sort of hobby -- one that slowly transforms into an addiction. It's not that I don't love mainstream music. It's just that the thrill of listening to some forgotten gem that everybody else has overlooked is powerful. It also feeds into the collector's impulse I have to overturn every stone to find that song, and my love of complete collections. Not surprisingly, I also like to collect comic books. I guess I'm the type. In any event, here are five lesser-known musicians that I believe everybody should give a listen to, dating as far back as the 1920s and focusing on jazz, folk, and blues.

Mississippi Joe Callicott (1899 - 1969)

Callicott was not your typical North Mississippi blues musician. Musicians from the hill country tend to vamp on a few chords, focusing on a droning, almost hypnotic sound; Callicott was a fingerpicker in the vein of a Piedmont guitarist, with a dash of Jimmie Rodgers. He recorded three songs independently in 1929 and 1930: "Fare Thee Well Blues," "Traveling Mama," and "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues", the last of which went unreleased. Two additional tracks were recorded with Garfield Akers, the "Cottonfield Blues" -- and here, his finger picking is energetic and nimble, bordering on aggressive.1 After the 1930 session, he went unrecorded for 37 years. He was not totally forgotten, however, as his songs started to appear in anthologies of Delta Blues. He was eventually found in Nesbit, Mississippi by George Mitchell, who recorded several songs with him in August 1967. These became the basis for a number of records and re-releases, the best of which was probably Fat Possum's Ain't a Gonna Lie to You. Unfortunately, his guitar playing had diminished somewhat by this time, but his voice had matured beautifully. His singing on "Frankie and Albert" is expressive and full of sadness yet was beautiful and nuanced throughout. After these sessions, he recorded several songs for Blue Horizons which were a bit lower-quality and rougher. He died in 1969 and was only recently given a proper headstone. Purchase Mississippi Joe Callicott Albums On Amazon Mississippi Joe Callicott - "Cottonfield Blues" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Joe-Callicott_Cottonfield-Blues.mp3|titles=Mississippi Joe Callicott - Cottonfield Blues] Mississippi Joe Callicott - "Frankie And Albert" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Joe-Callicott_Frankie-And-Albert.mp3|titles=Mississippi Joe Callicott - Frankie And Albert]  

Haiku Salut Tricolore How Does It Feel To Be Loved? (2013)Unless you closely follow the little known -- but still robust -- musical sub-genre of folktronica, Haiku Salut's Tricolore will likely be unlike anything you've heard before. In their full-length debut, Haiku Salut -- made up of musicians Gemma Barkerwood, Sophie Barkerwood, and Louise Croft -- explores the genre and their place in it, and in doing so, presents us with both an exciting and playful plethora of sounds and a feeling of potential. The band's major influences, including Yann Tiersen, Amestub, and early Múm, are prevalent throughout Tricolore, as the purely instrumental album engages various sounds and multicultural elements. Each track features layers upon layers of instrumental dynamism: light and playful piano parts, rhythmic and precise guitar and ukulele fingerpicking, dense accordion arrangements, and the occasional energetic percussion. These various parts ebb and flow across the album, sometimes peaking, sometimes falling, and always working together to give the songs momentum and intrigue.
 

Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy What The Brothers Sang Drag City Can we appreciate older music, without it being retrostylized, sculpted and reconfigured for modern ears? Will Oldham, the right honorable Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, and Dawn McCarthy (of Faun Fables fame) seem to think so, dishing up thirteen slices of pure unadulterated Americana on What The Brothers Sang. In 2013, we are seeing an increasing trend of reissue labels, tribute bands, and artist-curated mixtapes (read Simon Reynold's Retromania for an exhaustively thorough look at the issue). It's just an exaggeration of what has always been going on in pop music: artists referencing bands referencing musicians. Any aspiring musicologist will follow the riverbed to the source of inspiration. The Everly Brothers themselves explored a similar theme, with their 1968 album Roots. On this most recent collaboration between BPB and Dawn McCarthy, the pair act as tour guides through The Everly's catalog, which in turn acts as a microcosm of American music of the '50s and '60s. The Everly Brothers themselves didn't write many of their hit singles, so Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Dawn McCarthy end up paying tribute to Ron Eliot, Kris Kristofferson, Tony Romeo, and the duo of Boudleaux & Felice Bryan, who wrote many of The Everly Brother's first hit singles. They focus more on deep cuts than the obvious hits. There's no "Wake Up Little Susie", no "Bye Bye Love", no "All I Have To Do Is Dream"; some of these songs have only seen the light of day on ultra-rare completist boxsets. It seems like Oldham and McCarthy are enthusiasts and patrons of the Everly's art, and just want to spread the gospel.
Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – "Milk Train" (The Everly Brothers Cover) The Everly Brothers – "Milk Train" (Original)

 

Remix City sifts through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find those that contribute something original to their originals. Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala get some love from labelmate Canyons, and German producer Wankelmut creates the weirdest dance track out of a folk song by Asaf Avidan & The Mojos.
++ SEE ALL: REMIX CITY POSTS - MUSIC COLUMNS - FULL POST

 

Tame Impala

In the same way that Thee Oh Sees can work their mastery of garage rock over the unassuming masses and make it look ridiculously simple, Tame Impala can twork it out '60s-style in the indie rock arena, like laid-back experts drowsily saying, "We've got this, dudes." Canyons' Wooly Mammoth remix-interpretation of Tame Impala's "Elephant" pays homage to the modern beast's ancient ancestor and taps along like tesselated rows of the hairy beasts, propelling a rhythm forward with their marching bodies. Todd Rungren's remix spaces things out a bit by weaving sound experiments into important points of the track. See and hear more about Tame Impala's upcoming release, Lonerism, on Modular Recordings. The music video for the original can be seen after the jump. Tame Impala - "Elephant" (Canyons' Wooly Mammoth Remix) Tame Impala - "Elephant" (Todd Rundgren Remix)

 

Bumbershoot still remains one of the more diversely curated festivals in the nation. That is probably why they referred to it completely as Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival. In its 42nd year, the 2012 edition was not lacking in diversity, as the main headliners over the course of Labor Day Weekend varied from Jane’s Addiction to Mac Miller and Skrillex. With six musical stages, and a wealth of other stages hosting comedy acts, readings and various panels, it is impossible to catch everything over the weekend. So here are the highlights instead, not in any particular order of awesomeness.

 

M83

M83 acquired quite a bit of hype this past year. In fact, 2011 may have been THEIR year. With their hit single "Midnight City," it seemed like nearly everyone was jumping on the M83 band wagon. The funny thing about that is the band has actually been around for years; they released their first record in 2001. Securing a spot on the main stage for Bumbershoot 2012, M83 played to an audience packed with fans and those simply curious about the band. After witnessing this performance, I can tell you that I've truly never seen anything like it. The intro was a spectacle all on its own with lasers and complex flashing lights that even I have a hard time describing. Both lead singer Anthony Gonzalez and keyboardist/back-up singer Morgan Kibby were extraordinarily entertaining. Their vocals were nearly spot-on with their record, but not in a lip-syching kind of way like we're used to at the award shows. The instrumental drum solos were riveting and exciting. The performance was everything that I hoped it would be, but I'm afraid to say that it is unfortunate that all many are remembering is the crowd of kids rushing to the floor and causing mayhem break loose. You can read all about that mess here. - KATIE NGUYEN

 

 

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

This funk/soul band has been around since the mid-'90s, but if you didn’t know any better you would assume they formed in the early ‘70s. Carried on the shoulder by the spectacular voice of Sharon Jones and then brought to the forefront by the impeccable revivalist sound of the Dap-Kings, this big band lives up to all they hype their live show comes with. Despite playing on the main stage of the Key Arena, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were able to generate energy in the crowd that transported you straight back to a seedy bar in Motown Detroit. Their music is approachable by individuals of all ages, as are their tributes to the various dances of the '60s and '70s, which are like an instructional video led by Sharon Jones herself. Her spirit is infectious, even if you weren’t alive to experience the origins of the music the band aims to bring back to a new century. Sharon Jones’ energy, charisma, and stage performance are liable to make her and the Dap-Kings the best set of any festival they attend, and Bumbershoot was no different.

 

Seattle's discipline-defying Bumbershoot Festival is annually packed with everything an art-minded individual could want, from comedy and dance to art installations and music. Our festival preview for 2012 pulls from all areas, but has a minor focus on dance, as we will presenting our Motion & Movement in Music Video discussion panel this year. Read on for details and our top picks!

 


The Miracles Club

Friday, September 1 - 11:00pm @ Exhibition Hall The Exhibition Hall will be the perfect place for The Miracles Club to churn out their indie house beats and get the crowd pumping with the moves of resident dancer Ryan Boyle. And, did we mention? They'll be premiering their new music video, "The Wheel", at our Motion & Movement in Music Video panel at Bumbershoot, on Monday, September 3rd. - VIVIAN HUA

 

See all Previews & Picks For FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Mudhoney

Saturday, September 2 - 6:45pm @ Fountain Lawn Mudhoney is a Seattle institution. Blam. You can’t really talk about Seattle music accurately without giving Mudhoney its own chapter. If you’re the kind of person who loudly expresses their desire to “support local music” and you’ve never gone to see Mudhoney, then you’re a hypocrite, plain and simple. - RYAN PANGILINAN [... and another recommendation.] Mudhoney are often coined one of the godfather’s of grunge, and its fair to say that after still kicking for close to 25 years, the band is just as good and dirty live as it was in its heyday. - PETER WOODBURN

 

See all Previews & Picks For SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

REDEFINE magazine presents Motion & Movement in Music Videos

Monday, September 3 - 3:30pm @ Leo K Theatre This panel will explore how dance and movement intersect with modern music videos. Select music videos will be screened, followed by an open community dialogue with associated dancers, directors, and musicians. Topics covered may include differences in dance styles among different musical genres, trends of modern dance in contemporary music video, and spontaneity versus choreography in the creative process. A related brochure, featuring Q&A with directors and musicians, will be distributed with further information about the participants and videos screened. SEE ALSO: MOTION & MOVEMENT IN MUSIC VIDEOS EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

See all Previews & Picks For MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 Director ELY (Eugene Lee Yang) and producer Cathleen Cher of Polica's "Wandering Star" (below) will be present and visiting Seattle from Los Angeles.

 

All photography by Suzi Pratt except Porcelain Raft, The Lumineers by Jim Bennett
When the 2012 Capitol Hill Block Party website became public, many speculated that this would be the LAST Capitol Hill Block Party ever. A cryptic and mysterious message led followers and fans to believe that the end of was near. It’s no secret that the event has caused some trouble in the neighborhood with businesses claiming to be hurt by the music festival in sales and typical noise complaints, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this year's Block Party wasn’t a success. This event has brought the community even closer together and over the years, has kept a well-balanced lineup of mainstream, up-and-coming, and local artists on their roster. Whether this was the last Capitol Hill Block Party or not, the organizers have done well. The bands and artists put their best performances forward and the attendees relished under the summer heat in the heart of Capitol Hill. We really couldn’t ask for more.

 

Beat Connection

What I have come to realize in my past four years of attending Capitol Hill Block Party is that the daytime acts often get the shaft. It is difficult to capture an audience’s attention between the hours of noon and 4:30pm because let’s be real -- everyone just wants to day drink -- but if you missed out on Beat Connection’s set on the Saturday of Block Party, you missed out big time. For Beat Connection, this was their shining moment. Having performed on the Vera Stage just one year before, being a main stage act was more than just a big deal. Not only did they have an upgrade in stage space, but they were performing to the masses! With their new album, The Palace Garden, receiving rave reviews lately, they are on top of the world. Beat Connection performed the ideal soundtrack for Saturday of Capitol Hill Block Party by unleashing a daytime dance party in the midst of their set. Is there anything better than listening to their hot new track “The Palace Garden, 4am” with the sweltering sun beating over your head and a nice cold PBR in your hand? I don’t think so. Beat Connection have undergone quite a transformation in the last year, adding more members to their group and a slew of instruments and electronic additions that have taken their music to the next level. With their undergraduate college careers almost over, I expect that we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of Beat Connection very soon.