La Blogothèque Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:55:32 +0000 There’s often just one take. The obvious one. The one which has this little something else that will make the director keep it even before seeing the footage.

But sometimes, there’s more than one and then comes an internal struggle – it generally ends up sadly with a choice : the take we choose will be the only one you’ll see from a Take Away Show for which we had more than one worth showing.

This choice is ours and excludes you. It forces you to embrace a director’s vision, to follow his steps and live the experience he lived while filming the band – so many takes are hidden in our drawers.

For this Take Away Show, we wanted to change that a little bit. From being a viewer, you can now become an actor by chosing rue de Juillet, rue de l’Ermitage or rue de Ménilmontant. It’s up to you now to love the take with the sweet old man at the widow checking what MØ is doing with her guitarist downstairs, the one in which a woman holds her cigarette back in her mouth so she can clap or the one in which cars get in the way of MØ’s steps without disturbing her voice.

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#BandVan Sessions in Austin Sat, 05 Apr 2014 16:08:01 +0000 Being in that van was somehow soothing. In the middle of the festival’s fizziness, we used it as a decompression chamber : a place just for us, where we could cut ourselves from Austin’s madness, about its continuous noise, its huge crowd and hundreds of bands running from one venue to another.

During three days, we invited some bands to play in it. They were often in a hurry and exhausted. During the short ride time, they had the opportunity to do everything they couldn’t do at the festival : having a moment to play with their songs. A moment to rearrange them, twist them so they could fit the narrowness of the van, occupy the quiet space while the van was stuck in Downtown’s huge traffic or going wild on the freeway.
There was a lot of wait, some missed appointments, loads of miles, a crazy amount of texts exchanged, some “almost” and a lot of “not yet”.

There was also this motorbike noise fading into’s Sylvan Esso’s delicate and smooth song. Amelia singing, gracious, majestic, watching Nicholas Sanborn with the most caring, soft look. This seemingly not-so-quiet Hospitality song and it’s rythm made from bang on the van’s roof, that we hummed for days.

There was this old motel and its pastel colours. There were tears in Sarah from Pure Bathing Culture’s eyes and giggles when she said it was only her mascara burning her eye lashes. There was this drunk girl screaming her lover for us before going away in a stumbling walk. Wild Moccasins forced to leave the van running as the van was parking in front of the venue they were playing that night.

There were smiles at every speed bumps. Girls adjusting their make-up in the rear-view mirror. A soul vibe when Caught A Ghost dressed the night with their haunting blues. Tears in people’s eyes when Jesse and Tessa left the van for a while to sing in front of a vintage grocery store.

There were guitar hero moves to make bandmates laugh. An intangible tension in Darren from Papa’s voice.

Here are six Take Away Shows only Austin could let us make.

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Frankie Cosmos Thu, 27 Mar 2014 16:16:33 +0000 Greta Klein is the most disciplined songwriter I have ever met. Since April of 2009, she has released 47 separate recordings (LPs, Eps and singles) that plumb the depths of her psychology through reverie, longing, satire and a score of other forms that would leave Stephin Merritt feeling lackadaisical.

On a day that only barely teased at spring, Greta and Aaron (of Porches) met me in Washington Square Park to ogle the dogs, contemplate the motivations of the pigeon charmer and freeze our hands off highlighting a song from Greta’s latest work, and her first on vinyl, Zentropy, and an older one from her band camp releases.

The earnest, plain-spoken language through which Greta tells her stories is a refreshing antidote to the malaise of the city and the modern trend of burying poetry in reverb. Frankie Cosmos is life, simply told and essential.

I watch david blaine
find myself believing
in many things
in anything…

(From “On The Lips”)

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Torres Mon, 17 Mar 2014 15:49:26 +0000 There is alight snowfall between windowsills, a cat stalking the hallway and no audience at 3 in the afternoon except the bottle collectors, working their way along the alley beneath.

Mackenzie starts with her guitar, careful strumming punctuated with impactful percussion, slapped precisely between phrases. Mackenzie’s lyrics are impossible to slip past; these are not melodies to hum. Her songs lay bare facts of the case, heated and partial in their telling.

She moves to the piano. There are no trills or floral accompaniment here, just four notes to lay tracks under a train set for collision. The music of Torres carries the weight of experience, building slow acceleration towards its listener’s position, dangerous to the unwitting heart, a satisfying disaster to the willing who stand in its path, and a death blow to the protagonists who crossed her.

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Courtney Barnett Mon, 25 Nov 2013 14:29:39 +0000 It is an altogether refreshing thing to meet someone on their first trip to a new country. Through their eyes, you get to strip disillusionment from your own and experience your home anew. Courtney Barnett was not only on her first trip to New York City, she was on her first trip anywhere when we met at the top of Prospect Park in Brooklyn to wander and record songs from her recently released Avant Gardener EP.

Sporting an unplugged hollow body and marveling at the surplus of squirrel activity in the area, we strolled through the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in the Grand Army Plaza, skirting teens periodically splashed by what remains of the Bailey Fountain, wisdom and felicity keeping a watchful eye above Neptune and Triton.

Later in the week, I catch up with Courtney in the STI-infested hole that is 285 Kent and marvel as she tears through the false image of a wallflower with her full band and with full ferocity. The audience is all smiles and surprise, she leaves the stage and shortly thereafter leaves for London to add stamp number two to an otherwise virgin passport.

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Chelsea Wolfe Mon, 11 Nov 2013 15:26:07 +0000 There are actors whose borrowed affectations, accents and emotional accoutrement are a necessary part of their craft. Their work does not exist without adornment. Some musicians, in parallel, require all the trappings of artifice to move their audiences. Wether by bending and shaping their voices into dim, spectral digital funhouse mirrors or by piling high the physical masks, playing dress up to match the zeitgeist, there are those that would insulate anything and everything that would expose the Potemkin wizard.

Chelsea Wolfe is not one of these artists.

On a cloudy day in September, bleakly surrounded on all sides by a pedestrian mall and confined to an emaciated hotel suite, Chelsea found two moments to lay bare the subtle and elaborate inventory of her emotional world in two acoustic preparations, one seated at the edge of her bed, one in a miraculously abandoned stairwell. It took under thirty minutes for her to move myself and her press agent Louise to an affected silence. The experience likely will not translate to the attached document, but if you are the trusting kind, take my word for it, Chelsea Wolfe is worth a thorough investigation and substantial investment of the heart.

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Emiliana Torrini Wed, 30 Oct 2013 15:08:32 +0000 Whether by virtue of its landscapes, its education system, its isolation or its magical nighttime vistas, Iceland is incapable of producing anything close to a jerk, a malfeasant or an asshole. Each and every person I have ever met in or away from the city of Reykjavik has been humble, honest, adventurous and hilarious. Upon walking through a showroom cum apartment complex in Williamsburg this past month, I was pleasently reassured that Emiliana Torrini was to be no exception to the rule.

We spent the afternoon in a garden after a heavy rain. Her band, a joyful pack of hired guns from various corners of the United Kingdom, provided a full and playful accompaniment to a voice that had followed me since my teens, one delicate and mischievious while still conveying a complete authority. Emiliana prepared two acoustic versions of her new songs which the band, all the way up to their performances, had been refining and expanding with elements to accentuate and deepen the impact of their studio recording.

We assembled in the simple scene, found easy laughs, enjoyed a perfect October respite after a storm and settled in to experience a oasis of island tranquility surrounded by the din of the city.

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Iain Archer Thu, 24 Oct 2013 14:00:11 +0000 That song, which I have listened to probably more than a hundred times, is for me so much a monument to folk simplicity, when a melody and a voice can move you more than reason.

We caught up with Iain Archer during his appearance at the Bushmills music festival at the end of last June. Nestled to the extreme north of Ulster, the festival takes place within the same walls as the distillery itself; the occasion was too beautiful not to take Iain with us for a tour amongst the barrels of ageless whiskey… Originally from Bangor near to Belfast, he appeared to take evident pleasure from seeing the manufacturing of pure local malt up close.

Over the course of the route, Iain was improvising, going even as far as to start a ‘whisky river’, a version of which we hope to find recorded one day… We finally came to “Room n°2″, a room made of wood, filled with the ageing barrels of Bushmills; in short, a place full of promises. He began by playing us Canal Song and once again I found, pure, the emotion that had assailed me with every listen to those first harmonies. Then he started to play Black Mountain Quarry and I was convinced that folk music – a guitar and a voice – was certainly one of the most simple and most beautiful things that a person can hear.

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Basia Bulat – Wires / City with no rivers Thu, 17 Oct 2013 19:40:06 +0000 A year and a half ago, fresh off of a relocation to New York City and an adventure in Reykjavik, Basia Bulat and I met up in a coffee shop in the East end of Toronto and plotted an adventure. We were meant to dig into the Scarborough Bluffs for a few hours, find some pretty spots and call it a day. 9 hours later, we regrouped at the Lakeview Diner and marveled at how excited we were about what had happened.

It is impossible to spend any small amount of time with Basia and not fall in love. Even before you hear the inimitable, soul-stirring voice, that soundtrack to your next heartsick episode, you experience her warmth, her presence, her utter humility. Somewhere between an espresso and a beach comb, I fell deep for that amazing woman.

Down on the lakeshore, below the bluffs, we are alone, and Basia has brought new songs and a new instrument to debut to the waves. Birds barrel roll and dive among signs of temporary teenage occupations, fire pits, cheap beer cans and amateur graffiti in a minuscule ratio to the encroaching nature. Here at the divide between the Canadian metropolis and the lake, I am treated to the first sign of life from Basia in years, and it is wholly beautiful.

Before our evening recap, we settle into a park for a serenade by streetlight. Basia is not sure she is in love with her new child. She calls it silly, something from the 50s. She delivers it, and it is the perfect accompaniment to a day in her company: a pretty song that fools you at first with its appearance, one that immediately draws you further in until you are giving more than you bargained for, and before it is over, you are changed for the better.

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Of Monsters and Men Thu, 17 Oct 2013 13:30:46 +0000 It was the day that François, the new pope, was to be inaugurated; holy men were to be found strolling on every via, street or strata; a helicopter hovered over the distant Piazza San Pietro.

Of Monsters And Men were playing later that night and were experiencing the extraordinariness for themselves, having arrived from Bologna the previous evening. Accompanied by our friends from the Bushmills Irish Whiskey brand, we took the opportunity to film a Still Room Session, a unique and one off moment with the seven friends in a Rome that was buzzing with energy.

For once, we found ourselves in the same situation as the group: having arrived just hours ago in a city foreign to us, we had to improvise, take everything as it came to us with only intuition to guide our choice of locations that we hoped would complement the fantastical music of Of Monsters And Men.

We met up at the top of one of Rome’s abundant hills with the idea that, in any case, it would be easier to wander back down into the city in search of an appropriate place to film.

Upon their arrival, Nanna and Ragnar, the group’s two singers, confirmed our intuitions: they also wanted to amble about the city. We caught them in the middle of an exceptionally long tour, 12 months that would carry them across 4 continents to finish in the United States in October, and they came to us with the firm intention to see as much of the eternal city as possible in their few free hours.

Questioning Nanna about these interminable tours–of which this is the sixth–she replied that she likes the promiscuity of being on the road, sharing every moment with her bandmates, many of whom are old friends that she’s worked with in the past.

One has the impression that with Nanna, music is a family affair, and that for her the success of a band’s vocal contingent lies in an attitude of collusion.

Once everyone is adequately equipped, we set off to stroll in Rome with a collective bent towards spontaneity. The uptempo attitude of the group, their overall kindness is quite hard to pass over without admiring. Very soon after, we test the natural acoustics.

At last, it’s in a little piazza near Trastevere, at the intersection of multiple side streets and back alleys that the adequate location reveals itself. The band stops to practice ‘Dirty Paws’ in the middle of a flotilla of pedestrians, first stunned then charmed by the sound of the first few timid measures. In no time, percussion and vocal harmonies take hold of the song and resonate in this place from another age: we are in Rome, at the center of the world. The music of Iceland’s vast spaces echoes between these walls that ancient history built.

On the way back, I asked Anna how the group had felt during those moments, whether they were accustomed to this genre of exercise. She was content simply to smile: it was a moment, un bel instant ensemble.

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