I Walk the Line is Scott McFarnon‘s interpretation of Johnny Cash’s classic tune and it is, in all seriousness, breathtaking – in a good way. He’s stripped it down and rebuilt into something quiet and melancholy; the eyes that are wide open all the time gaze upon the line in a state of mournful, almost wistful introspection rather than paranoid, hypervigilant bravado. In the video below, McFarnon uses London’s newest park/art experiment, also called The Line, to illustrate his vibe, and it is beautiful.
No one ever retires permanently anymore, do they? Even dead artists have made returns to the stage. A year into my so-called retirement, I’m feeling antsy and decided I needed to get back into this blog that has given me so much. I won’t be trying to keep to the daily schedule that wore me out the first time, but I’ve got some ideas brewing and thoughts to share. (Plus, there’s a new Wind-up Birds EP coming in the near future.) First off, though, a quick post to share the great news that First Nations DJ/producer crew A Tribe Called Red have a new EP out called Suplex. ATCR continues to combine native song and drum elements with compelling beats for the same heady effect that intoxicated me when I first heard them back in 2012. Fader recently premiered the video for title track “Suplex” (featuring pow wow drum group Northern Voice), described as “a story about native youth, wrestling and becoming a role model without needing the stereotypes.” Suplex is available via the ATCR website, Spotify, and iTunes. (And you can get one of those sweet bandannas as featured in the video at ATCR website.) If you missed their … Continue reading
Alex Lamoureux is from Manitoba, and was ranked in the top 10 at the Grand Master Fiddle Championships in 2008-2009. Watch these videos, and you’ll see why. By himself, with Old Reel of Eight, Métis style, at the Manitoba Fiddle Association Championships in 2012: At the Manitoba Fiddle Association Championships, and joined by his mother, three-time Grand Master Fiddling Champion Patti Kusturok, also in 2012: For more recent activity, check out Kusturok’s YouTube page, where she’s doing a series entitled 365 Days of Fiddle Tunes.
It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Mumblr, scrappy little band of my heart (East Coast division), recently had the opportunity to be part of the Red Room Series, a new session series which is, like them, out of Philadelphia. My first reaction on seeing the videos was They’re playing in good light!!! What!!! because I may possibly have spent too much … Continue reading
And now, a return to regularly scheduled programming, in the form of a really lovely video for an awesome song. This is Northern Lights by Ryan O’Reilly. The song is the title track for his upcoming EP; the video was shot in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and my feelings about it are basically a series of animated gestures and the lingering desire to be able to walk around the place and find my own paths through the rusty cars and the snow. It’s bleak, I guess, I mean, it’s a rust belt town, and the cinematography makes everything look beautiful, but that’s just movie magic and romanticizing a grim reality. But there’s a warmth and sweetness, too, a sense of having entered a secret world, of having found small joyful things to love amid the wreckage.
One of the many awesome things about CXCW is catching up with old favorites. I developed a deep fondness for Water Tower back when they were the Water Tower Bucket Boys and singing awesome bluegrass songs about acid tripping in San Francisco, and then I lost track of them a little bit. So I was super pleased when their video featuring their new song Town and a cover of Spaceman 3’s Come Down Easy popped up yesterday. They’ve evolved from their bluegrass roots, though not that far – just enough to settle into a psychedelic groove. Water Tower will be at That Other Festival as well (multi-tasking! excellent!), and to follow their adventures, you may consult Facebook, here. To follow CouchxCouchWest, you may consult Facebook, Twitter, or refresh the Festival page several times a day.
Now in its fifth year (!!!) Couch x CouchWest is once again coming to a screen near you. Very near you. Like, in your hand right now, if you’re reading this on your phone. Though if you want to make a YouTube playlist of the videos and project them on the nearest wall-like surface, YOU CAN. Such is the beauty of Couch x CouchWest! Lineup: Anyone who sends in a video. Are you a musician? In a band? You should sit down on your couch / favorite chair / front porch / elevator shaft / etc and sing a song for in the internet. It will be awesome. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS NOON EASTERN MARCH 21st. Dates: March 15-21 Location: Anywhere you want. In bed, in the bath (Carefully! Make sure your device is well protected from the water!), on a train, on a plane, on the bus, you are all welcome, come join us, where-ever you are. Survival guide: As with That Other Festival, you will probably want snacks and cold beverages and comfortable clothes. The major differences: Pants are optional, pets are encouraged, there are no lines, you’ll never be shut out of a show unless your internet … Continue reading
This is the video for Got It, by Mumblr, from Full of Snakes, and it contains: Philadelphia, wet, gray and grimy and somehow more dear for it; inexplicable pantslessness; joyous headbanging and moshing; and a chorus that will probably get lodged in your head. Also, while I have only attended one of their shows so far, I can tell you those crowd shots are not the product of artful editing or careful staging, that is what it’s actually like, them going full throttle while the room winds up into an explosion of punk rock joy. That moment where everyone bangs their head at once? That is the sweet spot, and they know how to hit it.
I always appreciate a good stop-motion video, and this one, for Winter Heart by Bethany Weimers, is especially delicious. The best part: she and her artist partner Merlin Porter created it with sets they built themselves, in their living room, and a borrowed camera. The final result is wistful, whimsical, and really quite lovely. I’ve watched it twice and I already feel a little less Grinchy about both snow and Valentine’s Day.