The National proved they can command any size stage, playing every song like a #1 Billboard charter. The crowd lost some of it’s mojo during new tracks from Trouble Will Find You, but not its rapt attention. It wasn’t until after the show that I realized the band failed to play my personal favorite track “Slow Show” from The Boxer. It just didn’t matter. Despite some curious setlist omissions of old standbys (No “Murder Me, Rachel” or “Mistaken for Strangers”), there was no cause to idly check my phone or tweet snark about the lovers quarrel to my left. You make amends to finish a National show. You just do. For the entirety of their near two-hour performance, we were all drinking from the Matt Berninger Soho juice. And it was glorious.
I’ve dubbed this week THE, LIKE OHMIGOD, MOST AMAZING CONCERT WEEK IN PITTSBURGH INDIE-ROCK HISTORY. Last night our normally musically-deprived city hosted the Local Natives and Alt-J and I found myself at Mr. Smalls for the Alt-J show. They released one of my Top 3 records of 2012. So despite my affection for Local Natives, I couldn’t pass up Alt-J. Had to be there. Plus I’d been hearing about their live shows ages from some UK Twatter acquaintances. If I had some 30Hz Correspondents like Jon Stewart has for the Daily Show I could cover everything. Sadly, they’d be the most under-worked and under-appreciated staff in the history of staffs. And I temped at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, so I know how low the bar can be set.
Last year I plugged POOLSIDE, a band with aspirations no greater than inspiring you to chill out and drink adult beverages next to a sterile body of water. The ocean, most likely. I definitely don’t see them advocating a stagnant pool or freshwater lake. This year, I’ve got another fantastic candidate for chill-the-fuck-out record of the year. I submit to you: VONDELPARK. Critics seem to call them dream pop, but that doesn’t really translate here. Vocals are whispy, synthy and minimal.
Record Store Day 2013 is upon us. Even if you aren’t participating in the vinyl resurgence, RSD offers more for music fans than just vinyl. Artists release vinyl, CD and sometimes even cassette tapes for the occasion. But you don’t even need to spend money to participate. Record Store Day isn’t about vinyl or digital; it’s about music lovers of all ages and flavors coming together to celebrate the independent music merchants. The stores I’ve visited during the last few Record Store Days become hangouts, just like they used to be. Many serve food and drink and encourage everyone to stay, chat about music and just enjoy the company of complete strangers as crazy (and often crazier) about music than you. On Saturday, April 20th (or Friday night even!), go forth, be one with the obsessive music lovers. I bet you’ll have a good conversation or two.
Call it what you will. Lo-fi 80’s R&B. Bedroom glitch soul. Perhaps. Whatever it is, this entire record is electric and should get moved to the front of any of your “to-listen playlists.” The video’s pretty damn cool too. This record has that Poolside feel to it, the kind of fun, soulful record that just won’t give up it’s hold of the turntable.