I know today is Halloween, but we just can’t wait for the upcoming holiday season! There are so many great things in store, one of which being the Holidays Rule compilation released yesterday by Hear Music, a joint venture between Starbucks and Concord Music Group. The release features holiday (mostly Christmas) classics covered by some of today’s most noteworthy artists such as the one and only Paul McCartney, The Shins, Andrew Bird, The Civil Wars, fun. and many more! If you’re ready for a glimpse of Christmas future, heat up some hot coco and listen to fun.’s cover of “Sleigh Ride” streaming here! If that doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, then you might be a Scrooge.
If you like fun. then you might also like OurStage’s own Ivory Drive.
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Prepare yourselves for the best video of the year. Experimental indie artist Sufjan Stevens has a new video for his song “Mr. Frosty Man” from his upcoming 58-track Silver & Gold Christmas box set. The footage is a full 2 minutes of complete claymation carnage, with zombies, brains, bloodshed, a heroic snowman, references to The Evil Dead, and an unfortunate Santa Claus. The song itself is a silly sloppy garage style romp of out-of-tune guitars and “whatever’s around” percussion, and like most Sufjan Stevens songs, it doesn’t seem to resemble anything else he’s made. The Silver & Gold box set will be released on November 13th. Check out the video for “Mr. Frosty Man” below.
If you like Sufjan Stevens, then you might also like OurStage’s own The Tiny Tin Hearts.
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Dots Will Echo is a computer programming term and a duo from New Jersey. Dots Will Echo are melodic power-poppers and Crazy Horse-backing-Captain Beefheart sonic provocateurs. Dots Will Echo are a brand new band that’s been around since the ˜80s. Dots Will Echo are wild-eyed rock & roll maniacs and amiable suburban family men. Dots Will Echo are Nick Berry and Kurt Biroc, though Dots Will Echo was once Nick Berry and a bunch of other guys, and has occasionally just been Nick Berry. Dots Will Echo has a double-length album coming out July 24 on Sufjan Stevens‘ label, Asthmatic Kitty, entitled Drunk Is The New Sober/Stupid Is The New Dumb.
To make sense of all the above, let’s go back to the beginning with the stalwart tender of the Dots Will Echo flame, singer/songwriter Nick Berry. I started writing songs when I was nine, remembers the Garden State native, maybe younger. I remember being a little kid, I had a friend down the street, and we wrote songs as a kind of competition, I didn’t even play an instrument at the time. But Berry’s interests took a more outré turn while he was still in high school. I was in an avant-garde band, he says, recalling that group’s theatrical onstage escapades, My friend Roy had built a gigantic instrument he called a Googis¦he had rented a truck to get it to this one gig, and the guy [the truck driver] had taken off. He had no way to get it home, so he took a hammer and destroyed the thing onstage. We had a song called ˜Rubella,’ which was just all guitar feedback and oscillators, and at one point we would just lean the guitars up against the amplifiers and then run out into the audience screaming. And every time we did it, it was the kind of thing nobody could process [laughs], these people just had the look of a deer in the headlights. One gig there was a dog there, and I started chasing this dog around the audience¦blowing free jazz on a clarinet while this dog is barking. And the guy that owned the dog joined the band.
Lately, it seems that we are hearing more and more from new and unexpected partnerships between artists of different genres. This is why, through “Superlatones,” we are creating our very own directory”a musical wish-list, if you will”of artists who have yet to join the collaborative bandwagon.
It has long been said that music is a universal pleasure”an idea we can all appreciate and understand regardless of creed or country. Here at OurStage, we like to keep this philosophy alive by welcoming artists from all over the world, because there is no better way to grow and mature in sound than to share your passion with fellow musicians. This week, “Superlatones” celebrates this thought by bringing you a dynamic duo all the way from the UK to share a little inspiration from across the pond.
The Dynamic Duo:
Dry the River and James Vincent McMorrow
Most bands have an m.o., whether it’s simply the love of making music or the dream of power and influence. For Jessie Murphy In The Woods, the drive comes from Murphy’s desire to recapture a perfect autumnal moment from her childhood. And that desire has yielded songs that are literate, bright and haunting. The group is comprised of Murphy, Marcia Wood, and Amy Wood”all music teachers. Between the three you get a quixotic assemblage of woodwinds and brass, percussion and strings. There’s an economy to JMITW’s chamber pop arrangements that gives each idea its own space. God Save Owen Wilson is as funny as it is sad”the somber flutter of flute and a baleful horn in the distance juxtapose whimsically with a mock-heroic refrain about, well, Owen Wilson. The vibe is Sufjan Stevens in heels. New York City Lights, on the other hand, is folksy romanticism, sung without affectation. The orchestral, theatrical In The Woods tries to conjure the faintest whiff of that perfect autumn day, invoking the virgin forest with urgency. Even if the moment is forever out of reach, the music that’s produced in its wake is worth the loss.
[Ed. Note: You can download “God Save Owen Wilson” on the OurStage Facebook page for free, where it is featured as one of OurStage’s Editor Picks for the month of May.]
With influences that range from Sufjan Stevens to Fela Kuti to Bruce Springsteen, The Tiny Tin Hearts defy categorization right out the gate. The Austin band brings banjo, French Horn, cello, violin, trombone, piano, lap steel, guitars, bass and drums together for a joyful jumble of sound. They’re not ones to play it straight and simple, which makes them a consistently fun listen. Based on the true story of Mexican aviator Emilio Carranza Rodriguez, The Aviator is a sprawling anthem of tumbling pianos, shimmering tambourines and a blaze of guitars. Navesink is an intricate folk melody that showcases the entire genus of stringed instruments, from electric guitar to violin and banjo. It’s lovely and complicated”two words that apply to virtually all of the band’s canon. But, lest you think you’re beginning to understand their method, they serve up Gnoissienne No. 2, an elegant, classical waltz. Ambition can take on many forms, and The Tiny Tin Hearts seem to have them all mastered.