I’m excited to premiere The Luyas’ new video for Moodslayer - which sounds oddly similar to the “moodswinger” an instrument played by vocalist Jessie Stein. I only found out recently what a moodswinger was (and no, it’s not a slang for “girl”!) It’s actually a twelve string electric zither with an additional third bridge designed by Dutch experimental luthier Yuri Landman. It sounds about as serious as it, sounds.
This Montreal-based band is known for their psychedelic light shows and mystical tunes – so it’s not surprising that this video is a visual representation of their aesthetic. It was the brainchild of Derrick Belcham (A Story Told Well/La Blogotheque) Jessie Stein and Ruby Kato Attwood who unite under the moniker of “Schtuff”. Read more on their process and watch the video after the jump.
The vocal fragility of Daughter (Elena Tonra) is not to be confused with meekness. It takes guts to sing earnestly, and for this 21 year old songwriter, it can be gut-wrenching. Sparse arrangements make her voice sound all the more dramatic, and she sings about being discarded, love that went wrong, and being reckless. Her song, “youth” has got that anthem quality, in true Florence and the Machine-form. She sings, “one day we’ll reveal the truth” to the sound of anxious percussion and it makes you want to believe her.
Her EP released last November entitled, “The Wild Youth EP” contains song titles like: home, youth, love, and medicine, leading us to believe that it’s not so much a wild temperment – but a wild imagination that she translates through her music. Over the weekend she gave this EP away for free, but you can still enjoy it over at her bandcamp.
Watch a performance of “Youth” in a church, below.
(photo by Alaska B)
Working in music the last few years, I’ve had the chance to collaborate with some rad people behind the scenes: filmmakers, engineers, graphic designers, writers – those individuals whose art it is to facilitate art. I had the opportunity to sit down with La Blogotheque filmmaker Derrick Belcham before he sets off en route to establish a La Blogotheque HQ in New York. We met in a Toronto diner to discuss how he got to be where he’s at, what Jeff Tweedy smelled like up close (ok, not really), the myth of the “Moon Man”. Derrick emerged from the corporate world, returned to his experimental roots and gave up the handsome paychecks to invade the personal space of many of our favorite artists. I quickly realized that Derrick’s success can be attributed to a specific ethos: always be curious, always be in awe, and always be grateful. It’s a sentiment that permeated throughout his stories. His liberal use of adjectives will attest to it. He makes me feel like there is still life in these mediums, yet.
The story of a song-project is not new. Best reflected in Sufjan Stevens now defunct Fifty States Project or Paleo’s more militant Song Diary which resulted in 365 songs in 365 days, and oddly applauded by Dick Cheney – song projects tend to get some hype. But in the case of the enigmatic Diane Cluck, the pledge of a song a week for six months is more than hype. It’s a carefully made promise that something about the universe will be revealed to you in her otherworldly prose. It’s a guarantee that something beautiful will arrive in your inbox, and it’s the good vibes you’ll receive from supporting one of the most introspective and uninhibited folk legends we have.
Visual artist Nathaniel Whitcomb is every musician’s best friend. Through use of nostalgic collages of images in motion he makes a musical experience feel otherworldly. Defying space, time and geography – his projects return us to eras we’ve never visited before. His collaborations with artists like Monster Rally, Mutual Benefit, Holy Spirits and Birkwin Jersey have given his a welcome space in the music community. His music and arts blog Think or Smile is an extension of that space, and a platform through which he and I became friends.
Happy New Year, all! Canadian dream-pop duo Memoryhouse just put out their cover of The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year”. It’s filled with humming organs and layered reverb on electric guitar, it’s the kind of song you want to kick off a new year with, and Memoryhouse have assured it’ll do much more than that, “I hope this song helps motivate you to lose 5 pounds, stop smoking, and watch less reality T.V. (or is that just me?)” The band have offered the song for free download HERE.