Wednesday, March 26, 2014

[review] Future Islands @ Pyramid Scheme (3-25-2014)

Future Islands in Grand Rapids

Last night, Future Islands treated Grand Rapids with a stellar live performance. This was the band’s second visit to the Pyramid Scheme (the first time in ’11 during Art Prize), only this show was in front of a sold out Tuesday night crowd. Michiganders welcomed the musical act with open arms, and the sentiment seemed to be deeply felt by the band. Last night also marked the release date of their newest LP, Singles, which created a celebratory atmosphere on stage.

Those in attendance – either long-time fans of the band or those just discovering them after their breakout appearance on Letterman – came away with an experience never to be forgotten. Future Islands showcased most of their new material, and peppered the set list with some of their classics. Kicking the night off with “Back in the Tall Grass”, attendees soon realized they were in for a night of entertainment. Lead singer Samual T. Herring sings with such conviction and emotion on stage, and tells honest tales of heartache and love. Each song was introduced with quick dialogue, setting the stage for what was to come. It's this simple act that connects the crowd with the passion behind Herring's croons. During the 16-song set, he channeled all the emotion on stage, and he served as a perfect foil to the rest of his bandmates. Stoically providing the rhythm and groove to the dance-worthy tunes were bassist William Cashion, keyboardist Gerrit Welmers, and drummer Michael Lowry.

This dramatic difference in stage presence between Herring and the rest of the band made it impossible to draw your attention away from his theatrics. Personifying heartache and love through Elvis-inspired hip gyrations and fist bumps to his very soul, listeners were directly connected to his beautifully-crafted stories. Herring stretched the very limits of his vocal cords on stage, which added emphasis at the perfect moments in songs. At times, Herring projected the voice of a death metal singer, and these guttural growls are part of what creates the uniqueness of Future Islands’ sound.

The songs from Singles received as many cheers from the audience as did the classics from On the Water and In the Evening. After some early encouragement from Herring, the Pyramid Scheme erupted into an all-out dance party. The band concluded the first set with a raucous version of "Long Flight", and later returned for a 3-song encore. The last song of the night was a torn-down version of "Little Dreamer" from Wave Like Home. Herring requested that the house lights be turned on so he could see the crowd more clearly. It was a perfect nightcap to an amazing show, and it sent everyone into the night with a new appreciation for the wonderful work that Future Islands has been crafting over the years.

This band is about to blow up, and this tour is going to continue building that wave of chatter. If these dudes are coming to a town near you, do yourself a favor and go to that show. You will not be disappointed.

:: Photos :: from the night by Anthony Norkus (here).

:: Buy :: Future Islands - Singles (vinyl) (CD) (cassette!)

Setlist: Future Islands @ Pyramid Scheme (3-25-2014)
Back in the Tall Grass
Sun in the Morning
Balance
Before the Bridge
A Dream of You and Me
Tin Man
Doves
A Song For Our Grandfathers
Seasons (Waiting On You)
Inch of Dust
Spirit
Walking Through That Door
Long Flight
Encore
Fall From Grace
Vireo's Eye
Little Dreamer

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Three Colours' Year End List (2012)

Not another Year End List

2012 is officially in the books, and Three Colours has compiled its very favorites of the year. In our opinion, here's the best music of 2012. You may be surprised to see a year-end list released this late into the year, but after all the life-changing events that have occurred over the year, I'm just happy to finally get this out there. 2012 was a crazy great year!

Top 13 LPs of 2012

13 :: Twin Shadow – Confess
It only took me 5 seconds to fall in love with Twin Shadow's newest LP. Confess is chalk-full of retro-stylized rock and R&B that somehow maintains a contemporary groove.

12 :: Grimes – Visions
Claire Boucher offers up a beautifully crafted album of otherworldly electro-pop, shape-shifting throughout the entire record. Visions may be the most unique album of '12.

11 :: The xx – Coexist
Picking up where they left off, The xx deliver yet another amazing collection of intimate, smooth jams. Lacking the catchy hooks found on their debut LP, Coexist is slightly less memorable.

10 :: Vacationer – Gone LP
After wowing listeners with the "Gone" Single and the Gone EP, Vacationer added some more hits on this long player. No travel guide necessary for where this album takes you.

09 :: Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Lonesome Dreams plays out like an epic western adventure. One of my most anticipated albums of 2012, the debut lives up to hype generated by the Mighty and Into The Sun EPs.

07 :: Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
Emotion-fueled folksy ballads with lush arrangements make Tramp a powerful listen. This LP is the sequel to Fiest's The Reminder that I've been longing.

06 :: Tanlines – Mixed Emotions
Electro-pop at its finest. Tanlines harness their uncanny ability to write catchy tunes that never wear out after repeated spins. 

05 :: Django Django – Django Django
This self-titled masterpiece is probably one of the most fun albums on this list. Very interestingly new sound, which lots of jingle jangle grooves.

05 :: Tame Impala – Lonerism
Tame Impala's sophomore LP is part throwback to '60s psych rock, part something entirely new... all amazing.

04 :: alt J – An Awesome Wave
A serious amount of hype followed this UK band, and after one listen to this genre-jumping debut, you'll soon understand why. Alt J's unique mix of indie rock sensibilities makes them a breath of fresh air in a musical landscape of imitators.

03 :: Kishi Bashi – 151a
Kishi Bashi creates fantastical dreamscapes and magical fairy tales throughout the amazingly wonderful 151a. Regardless of your mood, this LP is guaranteed to lift the spirits of any listener.

02 :: St. Lucia – St. Lucia
While this technically is an EP, this self-titled 6-song record plays like a full-length and lands into the number 2 spot on this year's best of list. Maybe it's the South African accent or the tropical-infused instrumentation, but this album plays out like an exotic island vacation.

01 :: Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
Faithful readers of Three Colours should find no surprise in 2012's best LP. When I witnessed Britt Daniel cover Wolf Parade's "Modern World" back in 2010, I told myself it couldn't possibly get any better than this. Fast forward to '12, while lamenting over the dissolution of Handsome Furs, I was soon rejuvenated by news of Divine Fits. Worlds collided, and the results were A Thing Called Divine Fits. Excitement alive, as this LP marks the beginning of a beautiful marriage of sound and style that hopefully produces future works of art.

Honorable Mentions
:: Poliça – Give You The Ghost
:: Grizzly Bear – Shields
:: Beach House – Bloom
:: Moonface – With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery
:: The Drums – Portamento


Top 13 Hump Day Power Plays of 2012

Since HDPPs technically started in December of 2011, I've decided to include some of the playlists that originally inspired me to embark on a year of weekly playlists, released every Wednesday, to aid in pushing through the Hump. Notably, a "Year-End" HDPP was compiled in an earlier post to capture the essence of 2012. Below you'll find some of the playlists that seemed to get the most play throughout the year.

13 :: Afternoon Dream Mix (4-18-2012)
12 :: Winter Blues Mix (1-25-2012)
11 :: Spencer Krug Mix (1-11-2012)
10 :: Winter is Coming Mix (11-14-2012)
09 :: Ghost Mix (10-31-2012)
08 :: Premiere Mix (12-7-2011)
07 :: New Wave/Surfer Rock Mix (12-14-2011)
06 :: Dan Boeckner Mix Vol 2 (9-26-2012)
05 :: Day 340 Mix (12-5-2012)
04 :: Hula Dream Mix (4-4-2012)
03 :: Stargazer Mix (6-6-2012)
02 :: Phantasmagoric Mix (7-25-2012)
01 :: Mighty Sea Mix (7-18-2012)


Most Underappreciated of 2011

In recent years, there's always been a few albums that I managed to miss. Whether I was purposely ignored the buzz surrounding these albums, or I just plainly failed to approach the record, they were later "discovered" and enjoyed. Strangely, there weren't any surprises this year that I mistakenly snubbed from last year’s “Best Albums of 2011” list. I will list three albums that I recognized as honorable mentions, but now enjoy probably more than I did after last year's Year-End List. Therefore, I acknowledge that the following were both great LPs and worthy of making the top of ’11.

03 :: Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation
02 :: PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
01 :: Toro Y Moi - Underneath the Pine

Thursday, February 21, 2013

[new music] Brazos - Saltwater

New music from Brazos!

Very exciting news to share. After releasing the amazing debut Phosphorescent Blues in 2009, Brazos has just announced the news on their upcoming follow-up. Set to drop on May 28 (via Dead Oceans), Saltwater will feature the new single "How The Ranks Was Won" (see video below).


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

[playlist] Hump Day Power Play (2-20-2013)

Back From the Dead Mix

For those of you that are still with me, I salute you and your enduring patience. It's been a long while since I've put together an HDPP, but hopefully this one will fill the gap. There are some exciting albums on the way, and notably, there's some debut LPs dropping that you should check out - Atoms For Peace's Amok on February 25 (via XL) and Cayucas' Bigfoot on April 30 (via Secretly Canadian). Also, feast your ears on the Local Natives newest album Hummingbird (via frenchkiss) if you haven't already.

Stream the playlist below (or by clicking here).

:: Hump Day Power Play (2-20-2013) ::
01 ::"Breakers" – Local Natives
02 ::"Cayucos" – Cayucas
03 ::"Speaking In Rounds" – Grizzly Bear
04 ::"Judge Jury And Executioner" – Atoms For Peace
05 ::"Swin and Sleep" – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
06 ::"Revival" – Deerhunter
07 ::"High School Lover" – Cayucas
08 ::"Windshield Smasher" – Black Moth Super Rainbow
09 ::"Fingers Never Bleed" – Yeasayer
10 ::"Take It Easy" – Surfer Blood
11 ::"Exactly Nothing" – Real Estate
12 ::"The Base" – Paul Banks


:: Get Spotify ::

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

[playlist] Hump Day Power Play (1-2-2013)

Year-End Mix, 2012 Edition

Well that was fun! Over one full year of Hump Day Power Plays, and we've compiled 53 mixes to date! Since 2012 is officially in the books, I figured I've give a sample of my year-end list for best albums of 2012. I picked a song from some my favorite albums of 2013. I'm still working on the actual list, so pay no mind to the order in which these songs appear. Just sit back, listen, and enjoy the sounds of '12.

Stream the playlist below (or by clicking here).

:: Hump Day Power Play (1-2-2013) ::
01 ::"Fitzpleasure" – alt-J
02 ::"Flaggin a Ride" – Divine Fits
03 ::"Money" – The Drums
04 ::"Five Seconds" – Twin Shadow
05 ::"Why Won't They Talk To Me?" – Tame Impala
06 ::"Temporary" – White Rabbits
07 ::"Alphabet Song" – Lower Dens
08 ::"Not The Same" – Tanlines
09 ::"Oblivion" – Grimes
10 ::"Myth" – Beach House
11 ::"Dark Star" – Poliça
12 ::"Serpents" – Sharon Van Etten
13 ::"It All Began With A Burst" – Kishi Bashi
14 ::"We Got It Wrong" – St. Lucia
15 ::"The Man Who Lives Forever" – Lord Huron
16 ::"Chained" – The xx
17 ::"Yet Again" – Grizzly Bear
18 ::"Everyone Knows" – Vacationer
19 ::"I'm Not The Phoenix Yet" – Moonface
20 ::"No Future/No Past" – Cloud Nothings


:: Get Spotify ::

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

[playlist] Hump Day Power Play (12-19-2012)

Kubinski Mix

A great HDPP, inspired by a great man. Happy belated return to the States, bud!

Stream the playlist below (or by clicking here).

:: Hump Day Power Play (12-19-2012) ::
01 ::"Frontier Psychiatrist" – The Avalanches
02 ::"Exotic Talk" – RJD2
03 ::"We Could Forever" – Bonobo
04 ::"Animal (Mark Ronson Remix)" – Miike Snow
05 ::"Canto De Ossanha" – Jurassic 5
06 ::"And I Was A Boy From School" – Hot Chip
07 ::"Digital Love" – Daft Punk
08 ::"Grape Juice City" – Ratatat
09 ::"D.A.N.C.E." – Justice
10 ::"Vanished" – Crystal Castles
11 ::"Get Innocuous!" – LCD Soundsystem


:: Get Spotify ::

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

[playlist] Hump Day Power Play (12-12-2012)

Now That's What I Call 2009!

I had so much fun making the 2008 HDPP, I figured it was only fitting to follow up with my favorite hits from 2009. There were so many great albums to choose from, but as I discovered during this exercise, it is very hard to put together a cohesive mix as it seems my favs were quite an eclectic collection of styles. Since today is 12-12-2012, I really tried hard to reduce this list down to 12 songs... but 15 is as close as I could get (you can see what I left off the playlist here). While listening, I hope this mix evokes as much nostalgia for you as it does for me.

Stream the playlist below (or by clicking here).

:: Hump Day Power Play (12-12-2012) ::
01 ::"Ephemeral Artery – Neon Indian
02 ::"1901" – Phoenix
03 ::"The Lady Vanishes" – White Rabbits
04 ::"Stroke Their Brains" – Spoon
05 ::"Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Oh!" – Sunset Rubdown
06 ::"Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh" – Say Hi
07 ::"Two Weeks" – Grizzly Bear
08 ::"Officer Of Hearts" – Handsome Furs
09 ::"The Akara" – Beirut
10 ::"Skyscraper" – Julian Plenti
11 ::"Day By Day" – Taken By Trees
12 ::"Basic Space" – The xx
13 ::"Seven" – Fever Ray
14 ::"Beijing" – Patrick Watson
15 ::"Day Glo" – Brazos


:: Get Spotify ::