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Tash Sultana – NPR Tiny Desk Concert


This 21-year-old Maltese-Australian got a guitar from her grandfather when she was three, she says, and has played it every day since. It’s astonishing to watch Sultana’s fluidity on her instrument, like a natural extension of her body. (She also plays bass, saxophone, trumpet, flute and more, but kept it “simple” at the Tiny Desk.) I thought I had a lot of energy — watching her bounce from guitar to drum machine to two separate microphones — and then hopping barefoot from looping pedal to effect pedal as she builds her songs was exhilarating and exhausting. There’s more here than an exercise in virtuosity, her music is filled with adventure and ambition. These songs are rapturous and resonant.

Set List:
“Jungle
“Notion”
“Blackbird”

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Vanishing Twin – Vanishing Twin Syndrome


Formed in 2015, Vanishing Twin came together to make an exploratory record that marries oblique English pop with a palette of arkestral sounds. Having previously released a string of conceptual cassettes under the name Orlando, founder Cathy Lucas named the group after her vanishing twin, an identical sister absorbed in utero, when they were both still a cluster of cells.

Enlisting the help of producer Malcolm Catto (Heliocentrics, DJ Shadow, The Gaslamp Killer) the band began work at his London studio, Quatermass Sound Lab, last spring. Recording the basis for eight tracks, they blended structure and improvisation in pop songs that describe a personal mythology through the adventures of Lucas’
vanished twin. Drawing on sounds outside of the usual pop
vocabulary, the group used forgotten drum machines, home-made electronics, vibraphones, tablas, and harp to invoke the esoteric psychedelia of lost soundtracks, radiophonic experiments and minimal music orchestras. In a studio that Catto built for maximum atmosphere and minimum interfere, and crammed with obscure vintage equipment, he brought his own distinctive sonics to the table, informed by outsider jazz, Italian library music and ethnographic field recordings.

The band has previously been championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson and the Quietus. They played widely in 2015 presenting an immersive show that is equal parts crafted sound and improvised delirium. Vanishing Twin is made up of singer Cathy Lucas (Innerspace Orchestra), drummer Valentina Magaletti (Raime, Tomaga, Uuuu, Neon Neon), bassist Susumu Mukai (Zongamin, Floating Points), library music head Phil M.F.U. (Man From Uranus, Broadcast) on strange sounds, and film maker and visual artist Elliott Arndt on flute and percussion.

The Family Crest – NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

There’s a decent chance you’re about to discover your favorite new band. Based in San Francisco and led by Liam McCormick, The Family Crest builds its songs from a combination of infectious enthusiasm and powerful talent. The group owes its huge sound not just to its seven members, but to the community that records and plays with them. Eighty people are credited on The Family Crest’s first album, Beneath the Brine.At the Tiny Desk, we heard from seven players with training in classical and jazz, as well as instruments including violin, cello, upright bass, flute, trombone, drums, guitar and McCormick’s voice. And what a voice: Trained as an opera singer but with a hunger for jazz, he’s one of those fortunate souls with plenty to express and the range to deliver. The three songs performed here give you a sense of what The Family Crest can do, though Beneath the Brine is what you’ll want to hear once your jaw has dropped watching this.

Daniel Lanois – NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Daniel Lanois (born September 19, 1951 in Hull, Québec is a Canadian record producer and singer-songwriter. He has produced albums for a wide variety of artists and released a number of albums of his own work. Artists he has worked with include Bob Dylan, U2, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, Chris Whitley, Ron Sexsmith and Nash the Slash.

He started his production career working in his own studio, Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton, Ontario. He worked with a number of local bands, most notably Martha and the Muffins, for whom his sister Jocelyne played bass, Ray Materick, as well as the Canadian children’s singer Raffi.

After being discovered by Brian Eno and working collaboratively with him on some of Eno’s own projects, his career was given a huge boost when Eno invited him to co-produce U2’s album The Unforgettable Fire. Along with Eno, he went on to produce U2’s The Joshua Tree, the 1987 Grammy Winner for Album of the Year. Bono of U2 recommended Lanois to Bob Dylan in the late 1980s; in 1989 Lanois produced Dylan’s Oh Mercy, widely considered one of Dylan’s greatest later albums. Eight years later Dylan and Lanois worked together on Time Out of Mind, Dylan’s first studio album of original material since 1990, which won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1997.

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