Friday, August 29, 2008

Righteous Label: Dynamophone

Dynamophone is in San Fran, and they specialize in ambient and "euphonic experimental" music. Ha! Euphonic. Maybe you thought they meant "euphoric" but no!

eu·pho·ny [yoo-fuh-nee] noun, plural -nies.
agreeableness of sound; pleasing effect to the ear, esp. a pleasant sounding or harmonious combination or succession of words: the majestic euphony of Milton's poetry.

I have two releases of theirs and plan to get more. Disinterested is my favorite when it rains. A glorious post-rock perfection, the album is made with all guitar, and Matt Brown's intent was to do just that: Make ambient music with just guitar. Julia and I are in love with his record. "Disinterested" isn't exactly the most gripping name for a band. I am skeptical of the intent with that one, but perhaps Brown is "disinterested in sucking at making music?" Who knows. His music is great.

The other album is by A Lily, who is James Vella of Yndi Halda. This is the PRIME album to listen to as you go to sleep. Here's why it's better than most, according to me: It starts off very active. Perhaps you brush your teeth or fold some clothes or coo your baby to sleep before actually slipping into bed. This is when you put that on. Or maybe you read in bed for 20 minutes before you actually blow out your lantern. Perfect. A Lily has figured that out. Sonically, it's very bright and chirpy. Children chatter and get blipped into skittery rhythms. Glockenspiel plonks and guitars blink. It's very happy music, clearly written by someone in love. The last two tracks are strictly ambient, however, and comprise almost 40 minutes! Slow drifters to ensure the traffic doesn't keep you awake.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Radio Head Games II - Infant Counter-attack

"What's a bit of rain?" asked Thom Yorke. Watching Radiohead play in the rain with my wife and baby and friends rivaled many of my more emotional/tuned-in moments of recent years. I didn't even expect to go to this concert, which made it all the better. No expectations. A last minute decision to attend. Julia and I got all giddy just thinking about bringing our 5-week old baby Everest to his first show.

I had given up on getting a ticket to see Radiohead a couple months ago. I'd never seen them before and really wanted to, but after a string of communications with asshole scalpers on craigslist who were selling at twice the initial cost (see Part 1) I decided it wasn't meant to be.

But that changed when we learned that our friend Drea was coming from the Sunshine Coast to see the show. We took a look on craigslist, and wow, finally people had posted tickets online for less than a hundred. Some even went at cost or lower! Still, there were douchebags who were selling at $120 and up. So, I posted this ad:
And whaddaya know? Someone actually appreciated this humor and offered his ticket $10-cheaper at 70 bones. Nice. I went to get it wearing the yellow Radiohead slicker that Jessika gifted me last year. Success! All those fuckers on the Web who claim that "real fans" pay whatever it takes to see their favorite band can suck my balls. I am going to see Radiohead, at what it actually cost!

Now where's that baby?

We got Everest all dressed up, thematically, for the show. He had more Radiohead gear on than either of his parents. Plus he got in for free. First Radiohead concert at no charge. And wow, he was alert for a bunch of it, listening intently, so it seemed. At the least, he was not phased by the volume of the affair. Babies dig loud noise.

Once the rain started, we hid Everest inside our raincoats. Julia held him for an hour straight at the end of the show as we danced.

Radiohead are absolutely amazing. I had a religious experience at this show. That doesn't usually happen, but I had no expectations, Radiohead are one of the best bands operating on planet Earth, and I was with the people I love. The makings of a holy moment.
Every song was a revelation. The stage design was impeccable, with low-energy LED tubes creating a chandelier diorama. I could barely see the band. But then the video screens kicked in, and wow, I didn't need to really see them. I usually feel like I absolutely have to see the players, so I can watch how they play these songs, but I didn't care. I rose to a state of pure bliss.
They played "All I Need" and I absolutely lost control over my filters, the ones that hold my emotions at bay. This song is the song that best characterizes my love for Julia, at least in the way that I hear it. Hearing it live lifted me out of my stiff new-dad self. I started crying as I sat on our blanket, soaked with rain, watching Julia dance with Everest 20 yards away. At song's end, I bolted to their side, kissed my wife with tears in my eyes, kissed my baby, looked to the heavens as they cried into my eyes. What in the world.... This was a holy moment. So beautiful.

ANd it only got better. Every song was played so well. Radiohead has such amazing control over their live sonics, it's just astounding. "Talk Show Host" was stunning to hear. "The National Anthem" took off to a new level of awesome chaos. Everest breastfed during "Karma Police" and then fell asleep. "You and Whose Army" provided the most eerie visual moment, as a black and white camera was mounted on Thom's mic, and he stared into it with one good eye, out at the audience. I turned to Julia and said, "That was pretty good." A measured understatement.

Again, words. Useless. Don't miss Radiohead. Too incredible to miss. Honest, mind-blown reaction.

Here's the set list:

1. 15 Step
2. There There
3. Morning Bell
4. All I Need
5. Where I End And You Begin
6. Talk Show Host
7. Nude
8. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
9. The National Anthem
10. Bangers And Mash
11. Faust Arp
12. Videotape
13. Karma Police
14. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
15. Just
16. Exit Music (For A Film)
17. Bodysnatchers

First Encore
18. House of Cards
19. Optimistic
20. You And Whose Army?
21. Planet Telex
22. Everything In Its Right Place

Second Encore
23. Reckoner
24. 2+2=5
25. Paranoid Android