This Week in Live Music: Animal Collective, Chet Faker, Elbow, BANKS, and More
Ever wonder what a “traditional drum-off” is? Will Ferrell and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith had a drum-off showdown last week on the Tonight Show, and it was predictably epic. You gotta watch. OK, back to the task at hand: live music for your ears, eyes, hearts, and souls.
You might think Australian soul is a niche phenomenon. You’d be right, it is – but it’s less so, thanks to electronic musician Chet Faker, aka Nick Murphy. And you’d be surprised how rich the Australian soul scene is these days, particularly in Melbourne, where Murphy sets up shop. Chet Faker’s debut album Built on Glass captures warm, slow-motion dreams and deposits them in your big-bass speakers. Start with the rumbling, swirling, gut-wrenching track “To Me” and give in to Chet Faker’s glorious beard.
You may know the high-concept, high-reward veteran rockers known as Elbow from their riveting, inspired 2011 album build a rocket boys! Or perhaps the Mercury Prize-winning 2008 album The Seldom Seen Kid. Or if you’re really hip to the 40-something rock band news, perhaps you’ve heard the band’s 2014 album The Take Off and Landing. Bandleader Guy Garvey recently told the Wall Street Journal the band has evolved: “We wanted the record to have quite a proggy feel, with long instrumental sections. The things that came through were the more chiller sounds.” Which is to say fewer epic songs (although “New York Morning” certainly seems like it’s going for the jugular).
From the sweet darkness comes BANKS, aesthetic neighbor to fellow moody – R&B electronica acts like London Grammar and James Blake. Big things would seem to be in store for this L.A. pop star, based on the four-track EP she released last year. Production value aplenty, mixed with Jillian Banks’ unfairly seductive vocals, is a no-brainer combination. Let’s just hope she has more than four songs ready for her live set.
Legend. Paul Oakenfold is legend. So he really could do what most internationally celebrated DJs do, hop around on learjets with mollied-out babes, disregarding all things peripheral. And he may. But he actually seems like a pretty down-to-earth dude. He told LA Weekly this past week the following: "If you walk into work with a smile on your face, then we are not different in any way.” That’s the kind of self-awareness rarely seen amongst this generation's slew of massively popular and decorated DJs.
What will an Animal Collective DJ set sound like? We know what it will look like — the Animal Collective proper live set often resembles a DJ set. Geographer’s electronic experimentations and Panda Bear’s soundboard manipulations are staples of past Animal Collective shows, along with Avey Tare's bobble-head vocalizing. There’s really no telling how these psyched-out, tripped-out, tie-dye-brained boys will sound behind the turntables, mostly because there’s really never any guessing as to how a regular live Animal Collective set will sound. Sometimes that’s annoying, sometimes it’s magically revelatory. If Panda Bear’s live set at the Fillmore last Thursday was any indication, expect the wildly unexpected. The part-time solo-project man ran through a collection of brain-melting new songs with visualizations that would make Jerry Garcia blush. Expect more of that.
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