The DC area has been sadly lacking in the music festival department since Virgin Mobile decided to end their annual free festivals and the Landmark Festival fizzled after only a single year. But on the last Sunday of July, a triple-headliner show at Merriweather Post Pavilion brought, if not the musical diversity of a full-fledged festival experience, a line-up of heavy-hitters that would normally only be seen together at a large event. Belle and Sebastian, Spoon, and Andrew Bird are all big enough names to headline their own shows individually – together, they brought a night of indie rock and pop to Columbia worthy of the top of a festival line-up.
Cosmic folk-pop from the weird side of the tracks; Patrick Watson's poppier neighbor; Bowerbirds; Andrew Bird; a naturalistic dreamscape that carouses effortlessly with both the wonder AND the dread of it all.
Why You Should Care:
Hauntingly elegant, this track from singer-songwriter Ryan Hobler stands out in an already rich album as an example of the power and range that is currently at this New York native’s command. The Elusive Yes playfully bounces back and forth between Dylan-esque revelry (“Bob vs. Jack vs. The World”), near-Buckley croon (“I Fell Deep”), and [Andrew] Bird-ian musings (“Down Came The Fourth Wall”), but it’s the dive into the darkness of “See What You’re Doing To Me” that makes the most compelling arguments for Hobler’s considerable talents.
All photos by Joy Asico (email@example.com / www.asicophoto.com)
Day three dawned warm and sunny at Newport Folk Festival as the early crowd ambled in and made their ways to various vendors and stages. For many, it was a perfect morning to check out the Paste Ruins — a small stage in the depths of Fort Adams sponsored by Sennheiser and Paste Magazine — where festival goers could catch intimate sets from most of this year’s performers
Long before her set proper, Beth Orton took the “ruins” to play three songs, and as water dripped from the ceiling, she and her acoustic guitar created moody, atmospheric sounds. Contrasting with the much more rowdy mood outside, particularly on her song “Magpie”, her voice rose and cracked a bit with the emotion of the song. As one of the few completely solo artists (that is, no backing band) to play the festival, she later proved she could hold her own on the Harbor Stage, with humor and just two guitars.
One group who did not have a lack of band members was Black Prairie. Featuring artists from the Decemberists: Chris Funk (guitar), Nate Query (bass), John Moen (drums) and Jenny Conlee (accordion) and joined by Jon Neufeld (guitar) and Annalisa Tornfelt (violin), the Harbor stage was full, and their choice of songs varied to highlight each player resulting in a triumphant set from this minor super group.
On Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club, opening band Patrick Watson once again begged the question What the hell are they putting in the water in Montreal, and where can I get some? Watson recently released Adventures in Your Own Backyard, an album that makes you want to lay on the floor in the dark and ponder really important things. He and his band were the perfect lead-in for the similarly-situated Andrew Bird, and if you were to listen to the collective slower works from both artists in an infinite loop, you may be on your floor for a month. But once you got up you’d probably understand quantum physics.
In which a lady joins the crew, Andre dons a cape, and we talk about new releases from Andrew Bird, Yellow Ostrich, Whirr, Pond and THE BOSS.
So grab a seat, grab a beer and strap in because honestly, what could be better than listening to a bunch of morons sit around and talk about music for an hour or so?
Sounds Like: A lost session from Phil Spector's studios made by a guy with a thesaurus THIIIIIIS big; fired up indie-pop done right
Why you should care: Andrew Bird has consistently knocked it out of the park. This time around is no exception.
Beginning with 2005's Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs, violinist, multi-instrumentalist and whistler extraordinaire Andrew Bird has fairly dominated, or at the very least carved out his own special niche, of the indie-pop landscape. Chock full of mutated arrangements and some fairly cosmic whistling, what made Eggs stand was the astonishing number of impossibly catchy hooks. And just like that, it was clear that not only was Bird a master of writing music, but he was a master of writing a song.