If you’ve been following IndieMuse for any period of time you’ll probably know that I am a big fan of John Vanderslice. With the release of his new album today, White Wilderness, it seems like a good time for another feature.
If you’re not familiar with any of John Vanderslice’s music, I recommend checking out some of his older albums first, such as Pixel Revolt or Cellar Door. What makes this current release interesting is that it’s completely experimental for Vanderslice. He partnered up with the Magik*Magik Orchestra to make the album, which gives White Wilderness a much different vibe than his previous seven releases.
Vanderslice runs a popular, artist friendly recording studio out of San Francisco, called Tiny Telophone, and first got connected with Magik*Magik after their manager contacted him about being a “house band” for the studio. Before he knew it, they decided to make an album together. In a recent interview with Spinner, Vanderslice went into some details about what that was experience was like.
“While we were recording, some were auditioning for the San Francisco Opera. They’re in a different world,” Vanderslice recalls. “I love both worlds equally, but if you don’t really know what a downbeat is, you definitely look a little stupid. There were moments where Minna was like ‘Do you know this part is in 3′ and I’d have to say, ‘Honestly, I don’t.’”
White Wilderness (2011):
John Vanderslice – Convict Lake (mp3)
John Vanderslice – Sea Salt (mp3)
Pixel Revolt (2005)
John Vanderslice – Exodus (mp3)
site | amazon (only $3.99!) | Spinner (stream the full album)
photo by sarah mulligan
Yellow Ostrich’s release, The Mistress, is among my favorite albums from 2010.
Alex Schaaf, the main guy behind Yellow Ostrich, is a treat to listen to for several reasons. First, he makes fantastic music — some have even started comparing his unique style to a modern day Neutral Milk Hotel. And second, he is the rare musician who has a true sense of what music is all about. Instead of hiding in the crevasses, attempting to create a masterpiece for years (and promoting it for even more years), Schaaf has been completely transparent with his development as an artist. Since 2009, he has released 3 albums and 4 EPs. Some of these bedroom recordings are better than others, but that raw look in is completely genuine. Artists often times are afraid to risk putting out music that might not gain traction–and are often discouraged when they don’t instantly receive positive reinforcement. It appears that Schaaf isn’t like that at all. He is on a journey with his music and has invited us along for the ride. He can make an EP with the lyrics being only words from Morgan Freeman’s Wikipedia page, and feel good about it. I think that’s pretty awesome.
The Mistress is Schaaf’s stand out album. A few of my favorite tracks include “WHALE,”"Hahahaohhoho,” and “Mary.”
Schaff is from Appleton, Wisconsin (Midwest, represent!) and recently moved to New York City. He just announced a US tour supporting Say Hi (dates below), and you should definitely try to see him if possible. As rumor has it, part of the joy of seeing him live is watching him multitask with his pedals, kind of like Andrew Bird. He is backed by Michael Tapper on drums, who has played with We Are Scientists and Bishop Allen.
The Mistress (2010):
Yellow Ostrich – WHALE (mp3)
Yellow Ostrich – Mary (mp3)
Fade Cave EP (2010)
Yellow Ostrich - Bread (mp3)
site | bandcamp (FREE!)
tour dates after jump:
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As of today, you can grab a copy of Spencer Berger’s great debut album, Be Brave. Last year I featured Spencer on IndieMuse when he was recording under the name Field; however, because of the surprising number of bands with a similar name, he decided to switch the name over to Auditorium.
Berger’s voice makes Be Brave one of the most unique albums I’ve heard in the past few years. In my mind, I place his style somewhere between David Bowie and Flight of the Conchords. A few of my favorite tracks include “Sunday,”"I’m the Enforcer,” “Saturday Soldier,” and “Oh, My Desperate Soul,” although really, this entire album is solid.
Spencer is based out of Los Angeles, and first made a name for himself as writer and actor of the SXSW Audience Award winning film, Skills Like This. If you’re in LA tonight (1/18) and want to attend the release party, you can find the details here. He plays with a live band, made up of Justin Hogan, Chris Littler, Elizabeth Berger (his sister), Daya Wolterstorff, and BK Etheridge.
And remember this little advice from
Auditorium’s Spencer’s site: You don’t have to call Spencer “Auditorium” in real life. He’s not like The Edge. In fact, if you called him “Auditorium,” he’d politely tell you to stop.
Be Brave (2011):
Auditorium – Sunday (mp3)
Auditorium – I’m the Enforcer (mp3)
Site | iTunes