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Posts Tagged ‘Pedro the Lion’

Invite David Bazan.

This last Sunday I was fortunate enough to host Mr. Bazan (or Dave as he likes me to call him) at my house for one of his living room shows.  For those of you who don’t know – this very blog is named after one of his songs, so to have the man playing in my house was certainly a highlight.  For the past few years Bazan has been playing these intimate venues with about 40-50 people in attendance – alone or sometimes with a friend backing him.  At our show he played an electric into a tiny amp, no mic, and a simple floor lamp by his side.

Bazan played for a little over an hour, with quite a bit of dialogue in between songs where he would answer questions – a practice that he encouraged, rather than was forced upon him.  It was very refreshing to hear someone speak frankly about the struggles of being a musician – most especially in the financial sense.  Knowing my pride, I would have tried to play it up as if I was killing it, but Bazan admitted to performing these house shows because of the practicality of them being more profitable than traditional shows that require a lot more cost and effort – and that it is needed to be able to keep playing music for a living.

He played a selection of songs from Pedro, Headphones, and his solo albums.  His “$300 guitar” didn’t quite keep tune, and the playing wasn’t flawless by any means – but it was more than made up for with the power of his voice, and the overall coolness of such a rarefied show.

After the show, Bazan stuck around briefly and folks were able to grab pictures and buy some albums.  Though I hosted the event I didn’t really talk to him much, other than a couple phone calls leading up the the show – but he seemed like a very genuine and likable guy, and this night only served to enhance my love of his music.

God bless you, David Bazan – whether you want it or not.

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Yesterday I was in H&M—guilty—and a familiar tune came through the sound system.  It was obviously a holiday-themed lineup and what to my wondering eyes ears should appear, but Starflyer 59’s “A Holiday Song (Happy Holidays)” to bring me great cheer.  This track is rather an oddball off of 1998’s The Fashion Focus and what starflyer59-030911struck me most about hearing this song in public is that Starflyer really hasn’t gained much notoriety over the past fifteen years that they (or rather “he,” referring to Jason Martin, the only consistent member of the group) have been making music.

Starflyer is fairly prolific, having released eleven albums to date, and even with that under their belt, they remain under the radar.  They’ve a sound somewhat difficult to pin down (what if The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., New Order, and David Bazan produced magical offspring…), though characteristically shoegazing indie rock.  Maybe I’m a sucker for music that requires patience, but if you’ve not given Starflyer 59 a significant listen I’d encourage you to change that.  To perhaps help change that, here is a quick guide I’ve made to briefly describe each of their studio albums:

Silver (1994) – Shoegaze/dream pop, highly-distorted/effected, rock.

Gold (1995) – Slightly more pop than Silver.

Americana (1997) – More of the same shoegazing rock, though less engaging than Gold and Silver.

The Fashion Focus (1998) – Less My Bloody Valentine-esque, more keys.

Everybody Makes Mistakes (1999) – Moving in the same direction as The Fashion Focus, (except “A Dethroned King,” perhaps the thickest track on the album).  Excellent songwriting.

Leave Here A Stranger (2001) – Similar to Everybody Makes Mistakes, though a little darker (lyrically) and recorded in mono (as opposed to stereo).

Old (2003) – Back to the harder rock/shoegaze style.  Perhaps their best release to date.

I Am the Portuguese Blues (2004) – Loud guitars, straightforward rock n’ roll.  Jason Martin is Portuguese.

Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice (2005) – Resembles a lot of 80s pop and new wave music (even some synth bass), with some very dancy/catchy tracks.  A very fun listen.

My Island (2006) – I actually don’t own this album yet, but from what I’ve heard it’s pretty fun pop rock.  The music video for the single, “I Win,” features actors instead of the actual band.

Dial M (2008) – I also don’t own this album, but it just came out this past October and from what I’ve heard it’s pretty fun rock.  There are currently a few tracks from the album on Starflyer’s Myspace page.  The album artwork is pretty bitchen’ too.

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