Neat Tracks / Making Friendz “Situation”

By Amanda DK

Artist: Making Friendz
Origin: New York
Label: Last Bummer Records
Latest Release: Social Life (June 2011)

Those who follow this blog have probably noticed it’s more earthy, rootsy folk leanings.  I won’t lie, when going through submissions, I generally look for words like “ambient,” “electronic,” “beats,” “experimental,” so I can then delete those posts.  Occasionally, however, something will reach in from outside my comfort zone and give me a good shake.
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Guest Mixtape + Interview / Vanaprasta: Songs from Bands Who Have Thumped Our Skulls Live

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: Dylan Bell

It’s no big secret that artists need to have solid live show to be successful. Similarly, it’s always a disappointment when a great album does not translate to a dynamic live show.Los Angeles quintet Vanaprasta does not have that issue.  For the past few years the band has built a strong reputation almost entirely by their larger than life stage presence. They are a fixture on the music scene here, turning heads at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2010 and impressing audiences at their Satellite residency this past November. Nor are they strangers to the national arena; Vanaprasta made waves at this year’s CMJ Festival and have played at least a couple shows at every SXSW since 2009, really taking the festival by storm in 2011 with a total of eight shows during their time in Austin.
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Neat Tracks / Feist “Undiscovered First”

By Amanda DK

It’s no secret that Feist’s Metals is a solid album. The fifth release by the Canadian songstress received glowing reviews when it was first released in October. Rolling Stone named it as one of their picks for best albums of 2011. While her vocals are as lyrical and lovely as ever, the album has a vast, rustic quality, as though it captured a bit of the energy of Big Sur, California, where it was recorded. None of the tracks are as saccharine and catchy as “1234,” instead Metals reveals a more experimental, powerful side of the artist. Even mystical.

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Music in Media / Teenage Fanclub in “Young Adult”

By Amanda DK

It’s not a secret that Jason Reitman loves music. His first major breakout film success also yielded a hit soundtrack that reached number #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. He is a big supporter of Los Angeles public radio station, KRCW. Not to take away from any of the amazing music supervisors who have worked on his films – Margaret Yen and Peter Afterman for Juno and Thank You For Smoking, Randall Poster for Up in the Air, and now Linda Cohen for Young Adult – but the fact that all of his films have the same musical personality is a testament to his influence on each soundtrack. Conversely however, composer Rolfe Kent has been with him for all of the above referenced films except for Juno. In all of them, the musical choices feel deliberate, even at first viewing. Songs are not jammed in where they shouldn’t be; the score enhances certain moments, but allows others to bask in the (calculated) awkward or tender silence. As a result, each song or score cue feels that much more important to the story being told.

That said, I knew to have a pen and paper on the ready as I watched Young Adult. I was both surprised and unphased by the fact that there was no musical support for the first five minutes or more of the film. It was only after Mavis decides to go back to her small, Minnesota, hometown and begins packing her bags, when a few mischeivously quirky score cues snuck in.
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Neat Tracks / J. Irvin Dally “Salt Water”

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: Austin Conroy and Eric Weiner

Jordan Irvin Dally is going to have a big year.  It’s about time.  In April of 2010 the 22-year-old Los Angeleno garnered reverential buzz for his self-released Despistado EP, a collection of experimental folk songs, soaked with the kind of soulful wanderlust that must have been left over from his upbringing in Illinois, Colorado and Spain.  This year again the blogosphere took notice when he released Sun Room / Teething as a vinyl 7” and digitally on his bandcamp page, a lighter turn for the artist, with a brighter, island sway to his music rather than the sparseness of Despistado.
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