It’s been a good, better, best kind of week. And it only took through Tuesday.
By the time we were standing downstage right (LDG: “Right? Where are you? That’s left!”) for Sylvan Esso’s return trip to The Fillmore, I had already reevaluated my stance on a previously despised commerce-driven holiday; rekindled a list-driven exploration of Nordic pop; and rediscovered a central coast hideaway, heretofore nothing more than a power plant curiosity, that is home to both a bevy of sea otters and a treasure trove of Shakespeare aficionados.
I haven’t relapsed into Top 5 lists or controversy-laden ranking debates. At least not yet. But I still can’t help compiling anything that falls under a Favorite Anything category. So whether or not our mixtape exchanges and Soundcloud recommendations steamroll into anything remotely similar to the old Idle Time year-end best-ofs, I wanted to gather up ten of my favorite albums from 2014’s first half. Listed alphabetically, for now.
Ava Luna Electric Balloon
A decade-plus since east coast bands like Radio 4 and Q And Not U punked up disco, Brooklyn’s Ava Luna are doing the same with jazz and soul. I heard three different tracks off this album via three separate outlets, and was later surprised that they were not only by the same band, but also on the same record. Just the right amount of multiple personality disorder to make up an individual party disc.
The two major differences between RF and myself are height, and the fact that his intoxication threshold for karaoke comes well before his threshold for dancing in public, whereas I’m quite the opposite.
Welcome back to The Fillmore. It’s been far too long. Where have all the shows gone? I used to line up religiously on Sunday mornings to check tickets off my wish list. This was my first time back in almost two years, and I’d almost forgotten how much I love this place, and its place in the City.
Appropriately enough, my first show with RF in over two years was this weekend on the corner of Fillmore and Geary. He drank enough to dance; I was trashed enough to sing along to every song I was able (and some I shouldn’t have attempted). If we had stumbled a little farther down Post, post-show, I don’t doubt that we would have closed out Do Re Mi instead of Dimples. Continue reading Eyeballs and Fangs→
This week, NPR Music’s First Listen is featuring the self-titled debut by North Carolina duo Sylvan Esso. The album comes out May 13 on Partisan Records.
“Coffee” is already far and away my favorite track this year, and, despite recent attempts to temper my best-thing-ever enthusiasm, I’m already giddy about this new record.
Earlier this year, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn played Bottom of the Hill, and all I could think, at the time, was that I need to see these guys again, as soon as possible, and I need to bring everyone I know. It’s been sold out for some time (curse you, Fillmore scalpers), but if you can score tickets to the June 6 tUnE-yArDs show, Sylvan Esso will be opening. And I’ll see you there.
Partisan Records was kind enough to release Sylvan Esso’s new single, “Coffee,” on their Spring Sampler a few weeks ago, and I’ve been abuzz with an electropop caffeine high ever since.
The label’s website says that the track “sparkles and quakes, patiently rising from a muted spell of seasonal affective disorder to a sweet rupture of schoolyard glee. ” Sweet, sweet rupture. The song is fantastic. And so is their live show.
At Bottom of the Hill on February 13th, Amelia Meath gave Valentine’s Day the middle finger with a recitation of Richard Brautigan’s “Love Poem.” Then she and Nick Sanborn finished entrancing the crowd with one of the most energized sets I’ve seen a duo perform in a long time. Love at first beat.
The album comes out in May, and I’m patiently awaiting news of their impending tour stop in town.