2010 was a dull year for discovering new bands; caught between over hype and under hype, the ripe atmosphere for discovery is quickly diminishing. The Cults signed to Columbia Records, Tennis played their first New York show at the large capacity Terminal 5, Blackberry got maximum coverage out of a Tune Yards song, Best Coast and Wavves annoyed the half of us with their money-friendly philosophy on selling out. So I stuck to, for the most part, old favorites who made great new releases. As far as releases go, that Future Islands put out their first proper full length, and that Lower Dens became a band, were probably the highlights for me. I wonder whatever happened to Yellow Fever’s release, though — their new songs seemed ready to go pretty early in the year! But here it is, the top 10.
Download this mix from MediaFire here.
Full list after the jump.
Kristian Matsson, who goes by the name The Tallest Man on Earth, knows what to expect from New York. Last night he played Highline Ballroom for the first time, a higher capacity venue than Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg, and sold it out in advance. This was an all-age show, which meant an avalanche of super excited young fans (“I don’t think you should go to school tomorrow”, said one little thing to the other after the show ended). The fans sang in the words that Kristian left out (“in your eyes babe”, “leather”). Someone yelled out something in Swedish, and Krisitian claimed the translation was “you fucking pussy”. He mocked the girl who yelled, “Say something in Swedish”. He addressed the impracticality of too many requests: “That Jackson Browne Cover”, “I Fall to Pieces”. “How can I sing them all?” is what he said, “We’ll be here all night”.
The Tallest Man on Earth’sThe Wild Hunt came out today, woo-hoo. Ever since I got my hands on it, I’ve listened to each song a crazy number of times (except the last one, “Kids on the Run”, because I just can’t get into the piano arrangement).
In addition to the generation-defining “King of Spain”, my current favorites are the folky-punchy “You’re Going Back”, which is full of swagger and youthful arrogance: “You said, driver please, don’t go that fucking way”; and the oddly aged “Thousand Ways”, in which the line between comedy and tragedy is all but faded: ”But I’ll always be blamed for the sun going down with us all / But I’m the light in the middle of every man’s fall” and then, “I bend my arrows down [?] in circles and I shoot around the hill / If I don’t get you in the morning, by the evening I sure will”).
Kristian Matsson / The Tallest Man on Earth. Photo: Sarahana
The Tallest Man on Earth’s next album will be The Wild Hunt, and he’s switched labels to Dead Oceans. The album is set for an April 13 release in the US. Everyone’s live favorite “King of Spain” (below) is the first listen we’re getting from it; as you might’ve expected, it’s pretty true to the live version. He also played a song called “The Wild Hunt” at the last few New York shows. Can’t wait to hear the rest!
I was psyched to learn yesterday that The Tallest Man on Earth has run out of his last vinyl press of Shallow Grave (which included a 4-track 7″ of his self-titled EP). Well done, fans! I’m super thrilled because I remember holding my copy when I bought it and thinking, this is the one vinyl I’m most glad to own; my idea of a perfect record, with foot taps and all; if I were to use one word, it’d be “courage”. Think about it. A man from Sweden writing folky songs in English, with nothing but a guitar, and sometimes a banjo, finishing them up in a home-recorded style, and putting out a US-release on a small run of vinyl. It’s kind of an F.U. to the state of the music industry, if you ask me.
Here it is: a four-song edition of a Secret Garden mini-movie with Sweden’s The Tallest Man on Earth. It was shot the last time he was in New York (he returns this weekend for two shows!). Kristian Matsson was barely up when we infiltrated the Brooklyn apartment he was staying at. His tour manager, Ryan, led us to the stairs that was, who knew, the perfect spot for Kristian to sing “This Wind” and a cover of Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” (the best versions of both that I’ve ever heard). And you know how it is with a perfect hint of reverb: you cast aside your head and pull your heart out your neck (that’s right). We wandered around to the windy rooftop for “Over the Hills” and locked ourselves in an old-fashioned elevator for “Steal Tomorrow”.
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A new collection of Secret Garden performances will resume tomorrow, April 29th. Here’s a schedule of what’s in store. If you’re unfamiliar with this ever-changing magical garden, it is a mini-documentary series in which I film bands performing a few songs outside the context of a regular show. Along with the schedule you’ll also find some “candid band photos” that, as a tradition of my own, I take after each shoot.
If you’re a blogger who’d like to write a preview for any of these episodes before they release, just email me at hoovesontheturf [at] gmail [dot] com
While we’re on the topic of The Tallest Man on Earth, I’ve gathered a few other Swedish delights, plus more good stuff. But first, here’s another gem from Kristian Matsson, as performed live last night. I took the picture above after a Secret Garden shoot with him yesterday, so watch out for that loveliness.
hooves on the turf is a mostly-music blog based out of brooklyn. i can be reached at hoovesontheturf [at] gmail [dot] com - please send me your lovely music as an attached mp3 or an mp3 link. if i like what you send, i'll be sure to ask for more.
Aqua: Love TEEN. Man they can sing. Cool. Different.
Suraj Joshee: Sarahana, Loved the video. You captured the simple raw essence of the music and band really really...