St. Peterburg’s Kyle Wyss, a.k.a. Chromatic Flights – one half of Blind Man’s Colour has been busy with a new project, SKYWAY. No stranger to making beats, Kyle’s been producing tracks with Tallahassee rapper Rufat. Check out Rufat rollin deep on Brooklyn streets in the new video for “FWTB”.
SKYWAY has been grabbing attention around the web with tracks like “Trenchcoats” that float big bass thumps and fast rhymes on a bed of warm synths. Relax a bit and listen.
It’s been 2 weeks and I’ve finally gotten around to sorting through the mountains of pictures that emerged from the 4-day music festival, Total Bummer. A gallery of pictures rarely captures the emotions and energy of an event, but here’s an assortment of highlights that hope to try anyway.
The Heartless Bastards, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Band
That’s me, sitting there under a cafe umbrella with my girlfriend and her sister, drinking a beer, killing time at the one wet spot we could find on the University of Florida campus. Next to us there are a half dozen tables showcasing the parenthetical Diaspora of college freshmen, multicultural clean-cut kids stressing about finals, French manicures, iPhone apps, Ultimate Frisbee. On our other side there’s a four-top of thirty-somethings looking bored with their 8 oz cups of beer, presumably waiting for the Heartless Bastards show to begin, just as we were. The show was free; some sort of college radio promotion or school newspaper bill-filler for students to cap their Thursday night. At the time, the band was in an early-summer sabbatical, having released The Mountain the year before to excellent reviews, Brasky.org included. That album was an organic, slow moving exercise in Middle American blues-rock, at times almost suspiciously like the Black Keys, at others emotionally twee or self-defeating with a twist of old-timey Billie Holliday-style intrigue. It was a big record that I can’t say I saw coming, and maybe the band didn’t either. At this point the band had reached whatever peak of popularity they have yet seen, whether it be “indie darlings” or “relative obscurity” or “generally favorable reviews on metacritic”. They were still two years away from Arrow, their newest release; it’s a record that could be dismissed as formulaic if the band weren’t so damn clever in the execution.
So there I am in 2010, on beer number two, wondering how many of these kids were here for the show… I could discern that there were seven of us at this point: if you were drinking beer, you were here for the Bastards. At some point a couple of unkempt but plain-looking kids come walking around the corner with something almost too tempered to be purpose. They know who the Bastards are and they want to talk. They make the awkward slow approach to the table, and address the band with the Chris Farley Show-style reverent stutter, and the young dudes are in. With their cover now blown, the table of four next to us spends the next half an hour calmly chatting down their new best friends, seeming as if they just want to go back to being the table of people chatting about somebody’s sister’s wedding before realizing that they have some indie-rock duty to be gamely interested in fan banter and not pull some Roger Waters audience-as-cattle-existential-rockstar-meltdown shit. Eventually they defer the conversation, as they now have to head upstairs and play a tight yet awkward show to a transient, tidal crowd that wandered in and out of this high-ceilinged Reitz Union ballroom straight out of a 1980s prom. The band played old favorites, pushed hard for the finish and gave front-woman Erika Wennerstrom plenty of time to prove why she’s one of the most underrated American songwriters at work today. It was nice and loud, and tracks from the Mountain translated well to live performance. Yet leaving the show I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that, fuck, those folks probably have honest-to-god day jobs.
In the view from 20,000 feet, the Heartless Bastards make lemonade of some of the central tropes of garage rock with a wise-but-not-figured-out understatement that earns them plenty of kitsch credit. Upon closer examination, the band takes that sonic familiarity and bonds it with a mythos-less fervor that bubbles up and out from some inner penchant to sing, with an ease of song that stifles cliche. The music works because it’s honest and it’s easy. It’s not the next sub-genre touchstone, it’s not going to wash out Brooklyn basements with torrents of Tuesday night dance sweat and it’s not going to get a Glee send-up, but it’s quality music with the right kind of subtlety.
On the heels of the aforementioned (and terrific) Arrow come the Heartless Bastards back to Florida, with three dates in the Central Florida Area: Tampa 5/15; Orlando 5/16; and Gainesville 5/17. Go see if you can spot them before the show.
While at the show, be sure not to look directly at the drummer. His mustache is made of gold. Looking into its deeper ontological recesses may cause bouts of euphoria or severe sexual arousal. I stalked him on Facebook after the last show to make sure it wasn’t a party favor – and yup, it’s real.
Front man Ernest Greene’s somewhat exhausted rural boy gaze will set the crowd’s mood – either causing participants to vomit or to feel the slight resentments of being an unappreciated artist. The music is pretty emphatic that way.
Still coasting on 2010′s widely acclaimedTeen Dream LP, Beach House stops by Orlando next Wednesday with songs from their new album, Bloom
Before I had ever heard of Beach House I knew that my music catalog was missing something, I just couldn’t put a finger on it. A few years back I was riding in a co-worker’s car to lunch and I had heard what was missing all along; “Zebra” made it all make sense. I realize that makes me extremely late to the Beach House party, but at least I showed up at all right? Right.
This band was everything I had been searching for: the perfect combination of swirling and twangy guitars, airy yet rich vocals, upbeat keys with hints of sultriness, and a sense of complete weightlessness. Yes, Beach House had poured themselves right into that hole in my heart. I was instantly hooked…I was enamored.
The Baltimore, Maryland based duo makes music described as dream pop and this is quite accurate. Listening to the fruits of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s labor conjures images of a lot of floating, pastel colors, creatures from The Never Ending Story (one, not two,) and every happy feeling ever. Personally, I can envision their songs being played during a movie montage where two lovers are gallivanting around a big city doing things like: eating ice cream messily, holding pinky fingers, laying in the grass while one of them reads aloud from a book, and scouring the stacks of a record store, but only picking up albums like “A Very Lionel Richie Christmas” (is this a real thing? I hope so).
Releasing three full-length albums, Beach House (2006), Devotion (2008), Teen Dream (2010), and touring extensively has not slowed this duo down. In just a couple short weeks their fourth album, titled Bloom, is slated to be released in the midst of their current tour.
The tour stops at Beacham Theatre on May 9th, with support from one-man sound machine Asa Osborne, aka Zomes. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 day of show.