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Tour De Vaap

A compilation of music from 417

Monthly Archives: February 2013

A few weeks ago, we featured the fantastic Washington Irving doing an acoustic version for their song “Holy Company.”  Now, they’ve released the real deal and with it a video.  It’s still got the same charm as the stripped down version with acoustic guitars, bowed saw, etc.  But now it’s evolved into a fuller sound, almost a folk-rock anthem, like an old love ballad turned into a driven march.  And the accompanying music video doesn’t take from the pure power of the song either.  It’s a simple video featuring five panels which constantly shift focus from one band member to the next.  After hearing the energy the band can put forth, I can’t wait to hear more.  Check out the video above.

-M. Kauf

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Hidden Era

You may remember some of our past posts about Cold Blue Kid, the rock band hailing from Chicago.  Now Alex Longoria has teamed up with Elizabeth Burchfield for a sweet little side-project called Hidden Era.  The music for “Until Morning” is simple and refreshing, but there’s a lot to be said for such a sparse song.  Even acoustic guitars pack more punch and Burchfield comes through crystal clear.  It’s one of five songs to appear on the stripped down EP.  Check it out below and stay tuned for more info on the duo later down the road.

-M. Kauf

Hidden Era – Until Morning

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cannibals with cutlery

There’s a huge bias today towards bands using acoustic guitars, piano and swirling harmonies, especially British bands, towards the new folk categorization.  It’s easy to put To Kill a King into the same category as Mumford & Sons.  Or maybe Dry The River to match their edgier sound.  I myself was ready to place them into this category after hearing their Word of Mouth EP.  But Cannibals with Cutlery, the groups debut full-length has wiped away any last thoughts as to their genre.  The band stands in a category all their own, blending pop, rock, folk and even classical music to create one of the most unique albums to come out so far this year.

Usually it’s the music that jumps out at me first with a band like this.  I mean, there is a lot going on: synths, pianos, bass, guitar, drums, harmony after harmony, strings.  Basically, a lot for a five-piece band.  Take their opening track, “I Work Nights and You Work Days” for example.  It lulls gently into the album, using sparse but effective instrumentation like strings, quiet trumpet and a lone piano.  Drums are completely absent from the song, only adding to the delicacy as Pelleymounter sings of the loving two-worlds relationship, “And though you are asleep, it seems so natural, to kiss you as the sun comes up.”  This is the closest the album comes to a “typical” love song.

The stories of these songs are not the simple loves songs of most bands today.  Relationships aren’t just ended in heartbreak but tragedy.  Violence and questions of character appear constantly as in the brutal and powerful song “Fictional State.”  In one of the few songs to feature a female vocalist, singers make excuses for their broken love: “there’s no hole in my head, accusation I just ain’t the family type/falling short and you’ve got better plans, escape artist and you just undermine.”  The song gradually progresses from a worried father singing over acoustic guitar and piano, to a cacophonous mix of blaring trumpets, drums and heavy guitar and the song come crashing triumphantly to an end.  This is perhaps the greatest feat of the band.  To Kill a King, progress with ease from quiet beginnings as in “Fictional State” and the refreshing “Gasp” to booming choruses that swell and surround.

If you listened to their EPs or Ralph’s Balcony Sessions, you’ll hear many old favorites come alive under crisper, clearer realization.  “Funeral” and “Besides She Said” find new life on this album.  And, my personal favorite “Choices” is a stunning midpoint to the album.  I originally thought I loved it for its use of twenty-something musicians in the Ralph’s Balcony Session.  But, as a group in a studio session, the song seems to evoke more emotion than ever.  You can almost see the patient suitor: “he’s on your doorstep, waiting with flowers.  This garden is freezing, teasing, you’re leaving me for hours.”

But for every old song, the band has new surprises.   “Children Who Start Fires,” a metaphor for an unfaithful lover is a beautiful and clever acoustic number.  And the closing track, “Letter to My Lover (The Dylan Fan)” makes a fitting end to an album that constantly shifts and twists.  Never leaving you to catch a breath for one second, Cannibals with Cutlery touches on subjects few would touch in mainstream music these days, with a musical finesse most bands only dream of achieving.  The album is out February 24th, but it’s currently streaming for free if you want more than just my words and the few samples below.  Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this band.

-M. Kauf

To Kill A King – Gasp/The Reflex

To Kill A King – Choices

 

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Trip to Paris '13

Hibou, aka Peter Michel takes a page from the chillwave artists of late for his new double single “Glow/Hollow.”  The music is a dreamy blend of electronic creeping up from the dark.  “Glow” is definitely the “fiercer” of the two songs, creating a luscious danceable track full of synths and vocals drowned in reverb.  “Hollow” as the name implies, takes the darker side of the two singles, remaining quieter, using synths reminiscent of Eastern vibes and guitars that wash over like waves of glorious evening sun.  This year could easily mark the second coming of chillwave, and Hibou one of its forerunners.  Check out the single below and look for more from Hibou in the future.

-M. Kauf

Hibou – Glow/Hollow

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I was fourteen when some friends in middle school put me on to Shad and I quickly became a huge fan. There aren’t many emcees out there who can rival his lyrical ability and even fewer create tracks with such thought provoking and generally positive messages. With a dazzling array of multi-syllabic rhymes, internal rhymes, and alliteration, Shad is kind of like a Canadian Elzhi. ‘I Get Down’ lives on his 2005 debut album When This Is Over and it is a masterpiece. Sonically it is on par with Eminem’s legendary verse on ‘Renegade,’ except it lasts for three verses. I met Shad after a show a couple years ago and he was about as down to Earth as they come. Grab this song on iTunes or download it here.

-Elmar

p.s A soundcloud for this song doesn’t seem to exist, but just download it or youtube it!

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If you follow Tour De Vaap, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Brown and Blue.  They’ve got that edgy americana sound, jangling country with a deep sadness.  Take “City” for example, opening with “when this city died, it died alone/no one to hold it, no one was home/everyone sat there stupid and fucked, everyone sat there bored and drunk…” a bleak song of separation.  Guitars wailing in the background, as if crying there way down a lonesome highway into the setting sun.  Or at least, that’s what should be happening.  But the draw of the city is too great, no matter how messed up they can’t leave, either because it’s too late or they’re just too weak now.  As the song builds to a screeching belt of “now I know, that I wanted more, I feel useless here” you can almost feel the pain and the frustration.  The music video for the song itself is low-budget, disorienting and dark.  A dim light moves around capturing peoples faces only for a second before shifting to a new place.  But that couldn’t fit the song better, the dim light is those lasts few flashes of hope before it all goes dark to the tune of warm americana.  Check it out above and you can still download their EP A Warmer Climate here.

-M. Kauf

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After dropping a FreEP a few days ago, Cole comes through with the lead single off his sophomore album, Born Sinner. J. Cole’s production is top notch as always and he grabs R&B’s latest star to undress the ladies with his vocals. ‘Power Trip’ has everything you look for in a single: ill production, a catchy hook, and captivating lyrics. I need to meet this woman who inspired Cole to write ‘Dreams’ (off The Warm Up) and this monster single. Hopefully this album will be the classic that everyone has been waiting for the Roc Nation signee to drop. Until then, enjoy the single!

-Elmar

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