Rachael Yamagata has been busy lately, she’s just about to release her new Heavyweight EP and has just embarked on a Fall Tour which will bring her back to Los Angeles next Tuesday, November 20th at the El Rey Theatre. I was lucky enough to talk with her briefly as she made her way to Vancouver for the first show of the tour.
“Sorry it’s so noisy, I’m sitting in the back of a van on the road.” Laughing, I said that I’m in an art gallery with construction going on… we make quite a pair (more laughter). She then asked me if we had met because my name sounded so familiar (oh how I wish I had the guts and split second timing to joke around and say that we had once dated). I told her that we had met at one of her past Hotel Cafe shows, but was also one of her Pledge Music supporters for Chesapeake (her last release). “That’s it! I even remember writing you a note – once I write a name down, it’s hard to forget.” Yup, she pretty much made my day. Moving on, she was excited that the first thing I brought up was the cover art for her new record. All her previous releases have photos of her, so I asked how she found the painting.
“I was just searching online and came across this artist named Jan Zoya. Her work had this feeling of sadness, nostalgia, and passion that I could relate to.” Her artist statement also made an impression. She told me it wasn’t easy though, apparently the artist didn’t believe who she was so it took a bit of going back and forth, “I finally just had to tweet at her saying, look this really is me and I’m trying to contact you.” That finally worked and now one of her paintings graces the cover with even more collaborations possible in the future. As for returning to Los Angeles, I had to mention that I always felt that she belonged to us. “I feel the same way.” She said she still has so many friends here and that it was really hard for her to move to Woodstock. As for the show, “I’m really excited to play the El Rey, I’m touring with strings this time around and really wanted to have seats to keep it intimate.” If you’re familiar with the El Rey, you know it’s usually standing room only.
If you’ve never seen her before, do yourself a favor and go to one of her upcoming shows. Her onstage banter and incredible voice makes her one of my favorite singer/songwriters. Tickets are still available for the El Rey show via Ticketmaster and you can also download a free mixtape from NoiseTrade. Also, don’t forget to buy her new EP, Heavyweight from her website. Thanks again to Rachael for taking the time to speak with me, it was a real pleasure.
Watch the video to her single Even If I Don’t after the jump.
The Faint who recently headlined the FYF Fest are going back on the road to celebrate the re-release of their record, Danse Macabre (Deluxe Edition) out on Saddle Creek, November 19th. The remastered limited edition will also include a DVD with tons of cool things from the archives of the band. I’m guessing since the record is only 35 minutes long, they will also perform a ton of other songs from their past and present. They’ll be in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 18th at the Fonda Theatre and at New York’s Terminal 5 in December with plenty of dates in between and after. As an added bonus, Trust will be opening all shows on this outing. Check out the video for Agenda Suicide and get your tickets to an upcoming show.
Sigur Rós performing on the final night of Iceland Airwaves 2012
I’ve been back for a few days now from Reykjavik and still find it difficult to put into words how Iceland Airwaves 2012 was… amazing, cold, epic, windy, sleepless, beautiful? All of the above! It’s still a bit hazy to me what actually went down. Did Sigur Rós perform a new song? Did Útidúr actually play six shows? Did I fall in love with Sóley? Did the Blue Lagoon turn into the Ice Lagoon thanks to Hurricane Sandy? All of these things happened, but it still feels like a dream. So many musical highlights that it’s hard to name just a few, but when Sigur Rós took the stage at Laugardalshöllin Arena on the final night of the festival, I knew that there was no other place in the world I’d rather be. While I missed seeing Björk around town and a rather brief appearance by the Aurora Borealis, I did manage to make some new friends, eat a ton of Pylsur (Icelandic hot dogs), and discover EXITMUSIC who took my breath away at Harpa. Early bird tickets to next year’s festival go on sale December 1st and like every year, it’s gonna be sold out before you know it.
You’ve seen his beautiful videos for Lana Del Rey (Blue Jeans and Born to Die) and now director Yoann Lemoine aka Woodkid brings his own musical experience to life with a few live shows in the US next month including a stop at New York’s Irving Plaza on Nov. 1, Bimbo’s in San Francisco on Nov. 2, and LA’s Luckman Fine Arts Complex on Nov. 3. I recently watched his performance from Le Grand Rex in Paris via our friends at The Creators Project and it blew me away. Woodkid recently spoke with Filter Magazine and said, “We will be eight on stage, two symmetrical drummers, one keyboard, one ‘machine’ guy who plays percussions on a computer and three brass. There will also be massive projections, yes, the same one I developed on the Grand Rex Show I just did in Paris. The whole show is about symmetry and black and white, it recalls visuals from the videos but in a more abstract way.” Are you excited yet? Watch the performance below and definitely get your tickets via Ticketmaster to what’s sure to be an amazing night.
I first saw Retro Stefson perform back in 2009 at an off-venue Iceland Airwaves party at a downtown clothing store in Reykjavik. The name of the store escapes me, but not the lasting impression this young band had on me. People were going crazy for this band I had never heard of, so I immediately bought their CD and followed them around wherever they played. Three years later, I’m about to head back to Iceland and low and behold, they have a new record and video out and will most likely be one of the highlights of this years Airwaves festival. I challenge you to not bounce your head up and down while watching the video for their song Glow.
Ultraista who I just saw perform their U.S. debut at the Echoplex just last week have a new video for their single, Our Song. The band was in great spirits as they performed most, if not all the songs from their self-titled debut and made great use of their colorful videos during the set. The trio features Nigel Godrich from Radiohead producing fame, drummer extraordinaire, Joey Waronker and Laura Bettinson on vocals. They are playing at (le) poisson rouge in New York on October 24th so be sure to check them out before they head to much larger venues.
Sister’s Colette and Hannah Thurlow make up 2:54 who opened up for The xx at their recent LA dates and also played one powerful in-store set at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. I chatted with Colette after their Amoeba performance and she told me how much they love Los Angeles and want to move here… yes please! I for one have always been obsessed with female fronted bands of the 90′s like Cocteau Twins, Lush, and Curve (one of my all time favorites) so it didn’t surprise me that Alan Moulder produced their debut self-titled record (he’s married to Toni Halliday from Curve/Chatelaine). Check out their new video for their single Sugar after the jump and see them live when they head back to Europe later this month.
I’m heading back to Reykjavik, Iceland at the end of the month for my fourth trip to the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival! While I’m super excited to see Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men on their home turf, I’m just as excited to see Útidúr (pronounced: ooh – detour). There are so many amazing bands in Iceland and the Airwaves festival really gives you the opportunity to see most of them in various small venues around Reykjavik. Útidúr has this magical quality about them, kind of like the country itself – I’m talking to you Blue Lagoon. If you like Beirut, you’ll definitely want to check these guys out. You can stream and buy their debut album at Bandcamp and watch the live performance video for their song, Fisherman’s Friend below.