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Tour De Vaap

A compilation of music from 417

Monthly Archives: April 2011

“We’re only made of sky
And it’s true.”

Rarely are we aware of when our treasured groove-prowess’s roots first began to take form below the surface of their refined and now established image. Such is the case with the Elephant 6, a collective who have birthed, killed, and resurrected several distinguished sounds such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and Apples in the Stereo. But a much more important sound was concocted when Elephant 6 released their singular, most-beautiful-fucking-thing-ever, under “Circulatory System”—a collection that, at first, rarely caught the attention of their glassy-eyed, cult-like following. The band’s eight year sabbatical following the album’s release in 2001 left the Collective’s followers with a breach of trust, as the sounds coming from Elephant’s close relatives didn’t seem to measure up to the biblical seduction heard earlier. Fortunately, the band was reborn with a collection in 2009 and last year—sounds which use a lot of the technique heard in their S/T (along with remixes), but with a careful push forward.
It begins to make sense how an energy like Circulatory System’s needed to disperse into groups like Of Montreal and the like, though the pureness that pervades their first release seems to make everything following irrelevant. It’s just all there.


Circulatory System – Joy:

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“All of us lonely, it aint a sin/
to want something better, then the shape your in”

I’ve been in a folksy mood with all the sunshine raining upon the East Coast in the past few days. But, digressing from my go-to folk artists, I’ve been exploring some bluegrass. One particularly awesome band I’ve discovered (well, technically rediscovered) is  Trampled By Turtles. This outfit released their first album in 2004 entitled Songs From a Ghost Town, and they released their fifth full-length album Palomino within the last year. I’m not all too familiar with this type of music, but I love what I’ve heard from the band so far. I definitely have an admitted bias towards the fiddle though (and they make awesome use of it). They remind me a lot of Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and a lot of the indie-folk groups that have been sprouting up recently. I was introduced to the band by a music video for the song Victory off their latest release.  Here it is to hook you too. – Jon The Wolf


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Now that the new Fleet Foxes album Helplessness Blues is streaming online, I figured it was time for a review.  As I’ve said many times before, I’m a sucker for Fleet Foxes and I have to say, this album was no disappointment.  It’s is by far their most mature album both musically and lyrically.  Robin’s lyrics focus on growing older and learning from one’s past and it’s apparent that he, and the rest of the band, has done just that.  It’s the same Fleet Foxes you’ve come to love, harmonies and all, however this album features a new strength that only comes with age.  As a writer, Robin has definitely matured.  The lyrics are much more concrete than on previous releases.  In  “Someone You’d Admire,”  the opening lines, After all is said and done I feel the same/All that I hoped would change within me stayed/Like a huddled moon-lit exile on the shore/Warming his hands, a thousand years ago, have a wise and regretful tone absent from many songs today.  Helplessness Blues also shows a change from the typical Fleet Foxes instruments.  In addition to the usual tympani, guitars bass and mandolin, violins are used extensively and impeccably. This is especially apparent in “Bedouin Dress,” and flutes are added to marching “Lorelai” to create a sound reminiscent of the Beatles’ “Strawberry  Fields Forever.”  These instruments are put to excellent use, adding more dimensions to the already rich-sound of the band.  Besides additional instruments, Fleet Foxes expanded on their tradition of transitional songs like “Ragged Wood,” this time taking it a step further and creating two and three-part songs that make for standouts on the album.  My favorite song of the album, “The Shrine/An Argument” seems to find influence in American and Asian folk music all while blending three songs and a jarring saxophone (not to mention that Robin hits notes with a desperation he’s never expressed before) into one amazing song.  The album then winds down with “Blue Spotted Tail” a song that could have fit in on any other Fleet Foxes record and the fast-paced “Grown Ocean” which serves to sum up the album’s message in 4:36.  While I’m a sucker for classic Fleet Foxes, I think that this album is by far their most well constructed, and that, in generations to come, it will be seen as better than the first album and EPs.  Fleet Foxes have come out of the winter of youth and entered a golden summer.  Enjoy on a warm sunny day, over and over again.  I know I will. -M. Kauf

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Classes end in a week and naturally, our anticipation to travel home is steadily growing.  This song seems to capture the combination of nostalgia and excitement that accompanies the end of our Freshman year by taking the ever familiar track “Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and revamping it in a way that makes you want to get up and dance. By utilizing a hypnotic beat, melodious piano and clever manipulation of the original track, this RAC mix provides ample reason to revisit the beloved modern classic that put Edward Sharpe on the map. Love M. Hoff and L. Jones

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Although released in June of last year, I just found out about this EP today with props to the boys at Being that everything that the English folk rock band, Mumford & Sons, touches is musical gold, I had to take a listen to this. Recorded during Mumford’s tour in India in 2009, with the help of Laura Marling and some Indian musicians, this EP, although only containing 4 songs, blends Mumford’s usual folk with the stylings of classical Indian sounds. This definitely is a refreshing and interesting listen for fans of Mumford and Sons and world music. Enjoy. – D. Gold

Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling & Dharohar Project – To Darkness / Kirpa

Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling & Dharohar Project – Anmol Rishtey

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This is one of the most perfect songs I’ve ever heard. Please, please enjoy. – J. Brookes

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It’s hard to describe 23-year-old instrumentalist Steve Marion’s sound.  It seems to come from everyone and everywhere, culminating into a blend of distorted guitars and driving drums.  I learned about him after reading a “bio” on his band and I’ve been listening to him on repeat ever since.  To me one of the standout songs on the album is “Sugar Splash.”  In this song, Steve somehow manages to combine a latin drum beat with Ratatat-like guitars.  If you like it, be sure to listen to “Butterfly” and “Wondervisions” of his debut album Wondervisions which came out in February. – M. Kauf

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