This isn't going to be a lengthy review, but instead one that gets right to the meat on the bone. Bear in Heaven just wrapped up their tour in Cleveland last night, and the show was outstanding on all fronts. Citizen Rob and I caught the band when they played at Case Western Reserve toward the end of last year, and after that show, it was apparent that many of the tracks from Beast Rest Forth Mouth needed to be perfected in a live setting. The former quartet-turned-trio rolls onto stage with a lot of bells and whistles, and last year's show was slightly off-kilter with some performance flaws. It was such a treat to see how much these epic songs have blossomed with time and practice. BIH moved through most of BRFM's ten killer tracks, highlighted by the intense build and release of "Dust Cloud" and the relentless and wicked, "Ultimate Satisfaction." Maybe I'm in the minority, but I think that the move to a trio actually expands this sound and will allow for future mobility. Jon Philpot is still the brains behind the animal, but Adam Wills gets a little room to breath on the bass/guitar, and Joe Stickney is, hands down, one of the best indie rock drummers I've ever seen. True story. If you're a fan of BRFM, then you know how heavily it relies on percussion. In a live translation, the near tribal frenetics on the skins are loud and pronounced. It's impossible not to get into a groove with these three steering the ship. Twin Sister opened for BIH throughout most of the tour and were on their top game last night as well. Cleveland's own, Emeralds, swung in on a last second add-on and shredded in a 30 minute non-stop wall of sound. Their live improvisational entrancement was the perfect appetizer for BIH. Those that made it off their asses on a Monday night were treated to some of the best up and coming musicianship in the country. Be sure to check out Bear in Heaven's upcoming remix version of Beast Rest Forth Mouth by going over to Hometapes and enjoy the show video of "Casual Goodbye" above (apologies for the camera work. The Grog Shop is notoriously dark).
Tag Archive: Bear in Heaven
This week’s been at least a touch calmer over at Citizen Dick headquarters and while I’m probably not in any shape to have an excellent brunch, this week’s tracklist is pretty stout. The forecast for the next three months looks promising, and we’ll do our best to keep you updated. As we usually advertise, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter HERE and on Facebook HERE. Enjoy this Sunday’s list and kick your feet up, folks. You deserve it.
Woven Bones – If It Feels Alright – Woven Bones does a whole lot of things right. The fuzzy and gritty garage clanging rock of this Austin band looks good in your headphones and even better on the turntable. They’ve been slowly garnering buzz over the last year or so with slowly leaked tracks and a killer EP that hit quietly last year. On May 18th, the proper debut from the trio hits the shelves and we’re excited to put our ears to it. Enjoy the first released song, “If it Feels Alright,” and hit the back catalog by going to their myspace page HERE.
Sleep Over – Fog Juice – I’ll first admit I know very little about this trio, other than the fact that I love their sound. I was an internet troll whenever I found a few seconds this week and I stumbled upon this incredibly eye-opening track over at Chocolate Bobka. This is 1/3 post rock breakdown, 1/3 electronic ambiance, and the remainder is probably best left to listeners. In the headphones, this song comes alive, shrieking and delicately haunting all the way to its close. Don’t expect this to appeal to the pop starlet in you. Let’s provide that disclaimer front and center.
Bear in Heaven – Lovesick Teenagers (Twin Shadow’s Twins in Heaven Remix) – There are a couple of reasons to include this track. First of all we’d like to congratulate this Brooklyn quartet on getting the nod for Pitchfork Festival 2010. Just recently named to the bill, this band is one of the more underrated players in the Brooklyn music scene right now. Beast Rest Forth Mouth is easily one of the best albums of 2009, and their recent string of relentless tour dates should have them primed and ready for an excellent showing at P4K. “Lovesick Teenagers” is redone well here. However, if you’re not hip to BIH, we highly recommend snagging the entire album HERE.
Horse Feathers – Belly of June – The calming and soothing sounds of Horse Feathers is just what the doctor ordered for me this winter. The last couple of days have broken the monotony here in Cleveland and the sun has peeked its hesitant head out of the opaque gray of our winter skies. One of the things I loved about their last album, House Without A Home, is that the tracks take their time to get embedded into your head. Sure, it’s a folk-based sound, but there’s an awful lot of talented musicianship here. It’s lulling and intriguing at the same time. We’re stoked for Thistled Spring to hit the shelves via Kill Rock Stars on the 20th of this month.
Julian Lynch – In New Jersey – We caught this track over at Pitchfork’s forkcast and loved it immediately. Julian Lynch’s upcoming album, tentatively titled Mare is expected soon and this leaked track is stellar. As if finding a unique balance between the progressive/jazz model and straight forward indie rock, this track belts out plenty of positive omens of things to come. Keep an eye on this one.
Javelin – Oh! Centra – I don’t think I take myself too seriously, and any Javelin album always reminds me of this. Not only is the Brooklyn duo incredibly adept at dredging up conglomerate sounds that remind me of my youth, but they do it with enough color and flavor to bring a smile and plenty of enjoyment. Their upcoming album, No Mas is dropping on March 20th, and “Oh! Centra” is a teaser. Electronic sampling may not be your thing, or possibly it is. Those in either camp can’t deny these dudes are excellent at what they do.
Mumford and Sons – Cousins (Vampire Weekend Cover) – When I first heard Mumford and Sons, I got excited. Then I saw the entire blogosphere in America sort of apprehensively sigh in contempt. Nonetheless, their most recent album is an ass-shaker. Fittingly, they opted to cover fellow indie darlings, Vampire Weekend. The track suits their strengths well. I sort of envision Ezra Koenig riding a four-wheeler through mounds of cow shit in the lush English countryside. If that’s not an image worth listening to at least once, I’m not sure what is.
Drake – Over - A girl that I have been spending a lot of time with lately loves Drake. I don’t particularly love Drake. I don’t particularly dive to deeply into the hip hop scene unless there are perks to be gained in the process. Did I mention that she likes Drake? She’s also gorgeous. Here is the new Drake track. If I could smash everyone’s auto-tune machine with a sledgehammer I would be the first to do just that. However, I can actually stomach this one. You be the judge.
Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union – The newest TA effort, The Monitor, hits full throttle from the jump and the Civil War inspired concept album is well worth the purchase. It just hit on Tuesday, and the recently released “A More Perfect Union” is an excellent taste of what’s to hear on record. For the record, this latest album jumps above previous work, and the conceptual tilt is something that works well. I suppose it’s a bit presumptuous to just lay one track of the album out there for you. This is a track full of loud color and intensity. It’s probably best to listen to the entire album here. Contrary to what the opening dialogue suggests, we warn you not to “Take a drink from the Ohio River.” Ill-advised, folks.
Cloud Nothings – Hey Cool Kid (Memoryhouse Remix) – Cheers to the hometown boys getting a little national exposure. I just snagged Turning On, Cleveland based, Cloud Nothings’ debut effort on vinyl last week at Music Saves. Let’s be honest. There’s not a lot of exposure of Cleveland bands, and the DIY ethos of our very own Dylan Baldi is well worth all the attention it’s receiving. The entire record is a ball of fuzzy melody that perfectly balances the gritty underbelly of Cleveland with bouncing energy. If getting remixed is a sign you’ve made it, then welcome to the discussion Dylan. For the record, I’ll take the album’s original cut of “Hey Cool Kid” any day of the week.
Phosphorescent – It’s Hard to be Humble (When You’re From Alabama) – Here’s To Taking it Easy will be released on May 11th to (at least we’re expecting) quite a bit of fanfare around the blogosphere. If you were situated underneath a rock last year, you missed the Willie Nelson tribute album that allowed Matthew Houck to tour a good portion of the US and gain a larger audience. This year’s album should be the litmus test, for me at least, to see if this is as good as advertised. I’ll have to say that this first track is excellent, and in rotation with that Horse Feathers track above, has helped me through the week. For more, hit the myspace page HERE.
I have a friend that’s soon going to be a famous actress. This is not a lie. I woke up yesterday morning to find “Paranormal Activity” as the top Twitter trending topic. See, I have friends in high places, and soon you’ll have to recognize that this is just how I roll. I eat fine cheeses and fly around in helicopters on the weekend. Brad Pitt sends me Christmas cards. Occasionally, I email the Olsen Twins about good music; I do this for fun and because people like me.
Not really. But I’m absolutely stoked that my friend, Ashley, appears on the short cast list of Paranormal Activity, supposedly one of the scariest movies ever made. I’ve posted the trailer below, and if it doesn’t get your ass off the couch and to your nearest movie theater, check your pulse immediately. I graduated high school with Ashley, and she’s been working her ass off since college trying to break in and the current flurry of buzz surrounding this movie just may be her ticket. A couple of years ago, she landed a “reality TV” spot on a show about party planning. I flew out to LA and actually appeared for six seconds on the TV show. While this is my six second claim to fame, I certainly wish Ashley (who’s dating my best pal, Aaron) all the luck in the world. Originally, the movie wasn’t set for viewing in every city, but the viral marketing has exploded. It should be playing in a theater near you. By the time you’ve read this post, I will have seen the movie. From what I understand, it’s so creepy that you’re probably reading this post as I cower in my room, afraid to open the door. If you’ve seen it, hit the comment section. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Here’s the trailer for it…
On the music front, I’d like to use this space to atone for some music blogger sins lately. I feel a little dirty every time I write our Radio Dick post, particularly because I blast the ether with 10-15 tracks with very little discussion about the music I’m peddling. The main reason for this is that it’s a weekend post, and we try to keep things smooth and simple as the week draws to a close. The flip side of this, however, is I don’t often write about the worth and merit of the tracks we’re posting on Sundays. Throughout the week, we hit some in-depth reviews, but this day is usually reserved for simply handing you free tunes of emerging bands. In this effort, I always feel like I screw over the record stores. When the dust settles, you probably should be spending your cash at the record store. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that a majority of our readership has a turntable. If you’re digging deep for obscure indie music, it’s no secret at this point that vinyl is the best way to listen to any of the music we post. So I’d like use this space to showcase two of our favorite local stores that just so happen to do business on the same eastside Cleveland street.
Music Saves and Blue Arrow are excellent local record stores and the people are great, to boot. Melanie and Kevin at Music Saves are on top of things, and a quick browse through their website shows the soft and gentle nature of their enterprise. I grow tired of pompous and abrasive “smarter than thou” record store owners. You know who I’m talking about, right? The snobby and aloof musical genius that judges every purchase you make, taking every chance they get to show you their prowess in uncovering emerging music. Melanie and Kevin steer widely clear of this mentality and their shop is more homey and inviting. The interior is warmly decorated, “Vinyl” the cat marches around you while you shop, and both owners make it a point to promote the Cleveland Scene. Check out their website HERE and if you’re in the area, make it a point to stop by Waterloo Road in Collinwood and say hello.
Blue Arrow Records is a kickass vintage vinyl store a few doors down from Music Saves. To tell a family secret, I’ve not been able to shop here as much as I’ve liked due to my schedule, but from what I can gather, they’ve been doing well and the several visits I have been able to make have been great. Just like Music Saves, Blue Arrow is a husband/wife enterprise, focusing on collecting and reselling quality vintage vinyl. They run the gamut here from obscure records (we actually managed to see a copy of Trent Reznor’s first band’s LP) to the staples of any decent vinyl collection. The prices are insanely affordable and it’s a great place to catch an in-store as well. An elevated stage sits in the back and they host DJ sessions and in-stores whenever possible. The point of emphasis with Blue Arrow, however, is the unique floor design. The entire floor is made up of old LP covers, lacquered over and polished. No expense was spared on the floor, and it has to be the most unique and coolest idea I’ve seen in a record store. Check out more photos through their website, HERE.
So as you listen to today’s big ass list of music below, make it a point to support your local independent record stores. Even though I get a lot of music demos handed to me free over here, I make it a point to pick up anything I love on vinyl. I try my best to give back to the industry and you should, too. Today’s list is a mixture of the remix and the upcoming. Oddly, the tracks on this list I keep playing are not new, particularly “Mouth Breather” from The Jesus Lizard. Remastering and re-releasing is popular for this iconic band lately and as tracks get released, I keep playing them like crazy. I hit up the excellent Canadian music blog, Chromewaves, the other day to catch a great live version of White Rabbits’ “Percussion Gun” and posted it here. I don’t think he’ll mind. Check out the blog while you have the chance. We’ve also got a new Royksopp remix that’s fresh out of the birth canal and sure to get you moving this morning. Enjoy the list and have a great week of work, folks. Good times.
Today’s Radio Dick is shot straight from the hip from a busy guy in Cleveland. In the world of high school education, nothing spells “important” like the magical and enchanting homecoming dance. In American education, not one single night of the entire school year involves so much preparation for such little return profit. Kids spend hours determining hairstyles, attire, dates and venue decorations, all for an anticlimactic three hour rumble in the school cafeteria. Sometimes it’s important for me to think backwards and try my hardest to remember what it was like being a teenager. This always fails miserably, and because I’m the student council adviser at my school, I have to sit through the wholly uncomfortable experience each and every year. This post was actually written yesterday (Saturday) and most of the day was spent positioning spotlights on big masquerade-inspired art murals, hanging clear Christmas ornaments from the shitty tile ceiling of the cafeteria, and duct taping black construction paper like a mofo. No time for music blogging when so much is at stake, my friends. It’s, like, homecoming. It’s, like, the most important day of the year. Like, seriously.
An interesting snippet of my morning adventures does involve music, however. As thirty or forty sleepy high school kids spent their early morning decorating, I was the only smart guy with enough foresight to bring in an iPod dock and mini-stereo. Kids flocked toward the stereo trying to play Taylor Swift, T.I., and a thousand other bands that don’t even come close to my listening preference. My only requirement for allowing students to use my iPod dock was that for the last half hour, I was allowed to be DJ with my own music. In fine, impulsive fashion, the kids said “gimme gimme” and I listened to 2 1/2 hours of garbage before I could finally kick back and put in some good music of my own. Of course, none of the students had heard a single song I played, but three or four walked out with several new bands to choose from, and several bands wound up with several new fans. The few kids that were turned away by my music preference are probably at home listening to Shakira and figuring out how to tie a tie. I love my students, but it’s literally mind boggling how entrenched they are in mainstream media and music. There’s no better vantage point to witness this than in a high school setting.
All this to say that my post is not long, today. This post will hit the ether around 7 AM Sunday and with the long night I’ve got planned babysitting doesn’t allow much time for in-depth analysis. Nonetheless, we’ve got a healthy mix of new shit for your ears. We’ve got a couple remixes, including one of The xx’s “Shelter” and a Friendly Fires remix of Phoenix’s “Fences.” We’re also stoked to notice longtime Citizen Dick favorite, Dan Mangan, sitting currently at number 13 on the Elbo.ws “hot tracks” list with “Robots.” We coined this track one of our favorite tracks of 2009 way back in February when Mangan released the stellar EP that preceded his newest release, Nice, Very Nice. We defy you to listen to “Robots” and not hit repeat immediately. I still listen to it almost daily 8 months after it was released. It’s great to see people finally noticing it. Thao With The Get Down Stay down is an upcoming album we’re going to be long-form reviewing soon, and the newest leaked track “Know Better Learn Faster” is kickass. For fun, we’ve also got a Daniel Johnston cover by Soul Coughing alum, Mike Doughty, up for grabs. Enjoy the tunes this weekend folks. As you read this, you can rest assured that I’m sleeping my ass off, relieved that the homecoming nonsense is now a thing of the past. Like, I’m so glad. Yeah.
If you’re a regular reader of our site, you’re probably aware of our Radio Dick portion and how it differs greatly from our regular content throughout the week. We consider it a sort of round up of sorts, covering some of the week’s biggest releases. It also serves to whet our own appetite for upcoming albums we may feature in our typical long-form album reviews. While this isn’t an exact science, we’ve found it works pretty well for us. The key problem with this weekly post is that it somewhat negates our ethos of critically evaluating all of the music we place on our site. Surely, if there is anyone that enjoys breaking down a track, album, or video into its most crucial parts, it’s me. Nonetheless, we try our best to hit you with our evaluative content throughout the week. In other words, if you’re here for the music, enjoy it friends, but make sure to swing back to see what we’re really about here.
Switching thoughts for a few moments, it’s been a trying week at CD headquarters, primarily due to the growing pains of adding additional collaboraters here. The extra email addresses and increased intensity in communication has drained us a bit and has lain the groundwork for some excellent war room brawls. Brian re-emerged from his summer camp hiatus and is still shaking the sleep out of his eyes. James, still reeling from a big move across town in Chicago, is a crabby asshole. As for me, I’ve done my share of jabbing throughout the week, as well. The only two innocents in this equation are Justin and Rob, our two newest dicks. I suppose this is as good a time as any to apologize to our new co-workers and bury the hatchet with James and Brian.
So what, in reality, does this have to do with you, our reader? Lots, fortunately. As we expand and grow, we’d like you to get to know who we are so that we’re not just mindless drones and poor critical voices out in the ether. When you read Brian’s reviews, we’d like you to know a little about him and what his tastes are, for example. Likewise, it’s important for us to maintain integrity in the music we review here. The extra people involved in the process should hopefully bring you better reviews and more effective coverage of the scene. As our britches get bigger, our basic tilt remains the same: We don’t bash albums here, and if a review lands on our site it’s because it’s good. If you don’t see it anywhere on our site, it’s either because we missed it, or have not found concensus on its worth.
In the nature of good tunes, we’ll move onward with the music for today. This list is pretty fresh, and should put you right on key with what’s going to be moving and shaking on the interwebs this week music-wise. As a guilty pleasure, I’ve included 2007′s “Crimewave” by HEALTH just to get (some of you) psyched for the upcoming album. As for the other tracks, all are set to rip on full LP’s soon. There’s a Memory Tapes track, remixed by The Horrors, new Roadside Graves, The Mountain Goats, and Sea Wolf, as well. One of my favorites on this list comes from Hometapes’ own Bear in Heaven, and I’ve been playing it since I snagged the download. Throw Me The Statue just released another MP3 off of their release, but I’m sticking with “Ancestors” because it’s the one I can’t stop playing. There are several others on the list, as well, so enjoy.
As far as this week, we’ve got some reviews on tap and, hopefully, a whole lot less bitching. Enjoy the work week peeps.