This past weekend, my wife and I went to the 6th biennial Festival of Faith & Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and it proved to be one of the more interesting conference/festivals I’ve ever attended. Culture criticism often has an adversarial relationship with faith and faith often has an adversarial relationship with pop culture, so it was cool to be somewhere where the two were openly discussed together and how better each can be incorporated into each other. So here are five choice cuts relating to the Festival of Faith & Music.
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Andrew Bird: Fever Year
Directed by: Xan Aranda
One of the more prolific artists in recent years has been Andrew Bird, the Chicago singer/songwriter/violinist who has flood the music scene with almost obsessive touring and eight albums in the last decade. A week ago, my wife and I caught a director’s screening of Fever Year, a documentary about Bird. Although over a year after its debut, the film never was widely released and still remains unavailable on DVD per Bird’s request. But while only currently available to see through screenings, the film gives some very interesting snapshots into the life and ethic of this unique artist.
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Fall is almost here; and with the fall comes a sense of dread among all kids, teens, and young adults alike: school has arrived. While the three of us at LxL are done with school (at least for now), that doesn’t mean we don’t like to reminisce a bit. This week we go with our ten favorite school songs with these two main criteria for the category: they couldn’t be about graduation (a list for another time), and they had to be about school or at least set in school with tons of references to it. This actually proved to be one of our most difficult lists to decide upon, as songs about school a lot more prominent in music history than we thought. So let’s take you back to school.
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It is a little over halfway through 2012 and a large breadth of music has been released in this time. This of course means that it is time to list what, in our opinion, are the best albums so far this year. We do this not to proselytize our readers into congratulating us on our superb music tastes, but instead to evaluate the current musical landscape. Today’s list will also provide some loose guidelines for when we do make our end of the year list – although it is merely a predictor and not definitive on how we will feel at the end of the year.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Best Albums of 2012….so far”
^^Incredible Lineup, Meh Festival
How does one review a Coachella? It is hard because you are taking a weekend that is very much a personal experience that involves close friends, music, and the good times you create (or don’t). Some people go to try and catch as many concerts as possible in three days. Some merely use it as an opportunity to explore how many drugs they can fill their body with in three days. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Some people go for the art. Some people probably just go for their friends. Teenagers go to fit in or to look like a rebel. Old farts go to feel young and seem hip. I even heard Bear Grylls showed up to film an episode of Man vs Festivals in order to properly demonstrate exactly how to drink copious amounts of alcohol in 108 degree weather without dying (I think the trick had something to do with mixing every drink with pickle juice). Personally, I only go for the Ferris wheel.
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Break It Yourself
In many ways, Chicago born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird is like an Olympic gymnast; they consistently perform so flawlessly and gracefully that you begin to take their unbelievable talent for granted. Thus, the virtuosic violinist and former Squirrel Nut Zipper has made his own unique magical blend of folk for a decade and a half making consistently good to great records with his hyper-literate songwriting, vivid vocals, aggressive guitar play, pioneering violin style, and unrivaled whistling ability making a sound that can only be described as his own. On top of all this, the one man band loops it all together live to make for quite the sight, which has now been captured on screen in the concert documentary film, Andrew Bird: Fever Year debuting this spring around the country. If the film isn’t enough, Bird now releases Break It Yourself, his 12th solo album to date, which is a true triumph and ranks as his most sophisticated album to date.
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2012 is still fairly young, and there hasn’t been many great album releases yet, but there are a ton of great singles for upcoming albums coming out daily. The five songs below are from a mix of emerging artists and reliable mainstays, but all are worth your time.
Continue reading “LxListening: Brand Spankin New”