Album Review: Snail Mail-Lush

We are aware that Lush by indie musician, Snail Mail (Lindsey Jordan) has been receiving tons of publicity and great reviews (80 score on Metacritic). Sometimes the hype around an album and performer is justified, and we felt it was worth it to bring this album to your attention.

Our review format: The format is a straight forward expression of 5 separate thoughts. The best comparison would be to 5 text messages about a concert or album from your friend to you. Some messages may be only one or two words, some may be run-on sentences, and some may be paragraphs. We do promise not to ramble on and drift off topic like a text from your favorite grandparent.

Snail Mail
RIYL: Liz Phair, Courtney Barnett, Vagabon, Soccer Mommy, Lily Allen
Pseudo Genre: Emo indie pop

1. Despite being only 19 (she was 18 when the album came out), this is Lindsey Jordan’s is not brand new to the music scene. She made a big splash at SXSW 2017 and has had a NY Times Profile story written about her. This album demonstrates a maturity and skill set well beyond her chronological years. It is clearly influenced by Mary Timony (From bands Ex Hex, Wild Flag, Helium, etc) from whom Lindsey used to take music lessons.

2. The songs definitely focus on the theme of young relationships and the innocence of youth. These lyrics help to demonstrate:

--From “Pristine”: “Don’t you like me for me?/Is there any better feeling than coming clean?/And I know myself and I’ll never love anyone else.”
--On “Heat Wave” she discusses one night stands, and wanting it all to end (a theme borrowed directly from her idol, Liz Phair’s “Fuck and Run”: “I’m so tired of moving on/Spending every weekend so far gone/Heat wave, nothing to do/Woke up in my clothes having dreamt of you”
--Lindsey touches on a Summer romance in “Let’s Find an Out”, a song that she has stated is her favorite from the album: ‪”June's glowing red/Oh strawberry moon/You're always coming back a little older/But it looks alright on you”

3. It is her interesting guitar play and powerful, yet restrained vocals, that combine to create such an enjoyable album.

4. This album is a great escape from the issues of the world and though it is in many ways simplistic, it is easy to become lost in the music. We have spent a few days floating in pool with Lush on repeat.

5. We certainly hope that this album is just the start of great things to come. Snail Mail has the potential to grow and mature, which ironic considering the band’s namesake is nearly completely replaced by email.

Here you can listen to “Pristine” with a lyric video followed by the official video for “Heat Wave”.

Friday Playlist: 6/22/18

This week’s Friday Playlist is primarily centered around the Summer Time.

We start off with an artist that you should get to know now, because Miya Folick is going to make it big.

St. Vincent changed one of her slowest songs from the last album, “Slow Disco” into a dance song with “Fast Slow Disco”.

The current SWB song of the Summer is Pusha T’s “If You Know You Know”. Though the song has been out for a month or so, the video just came out.

Gorillaz have a psychedelic new video created by the team that normally is operating in the SouthEast Corner of Glastonbury during this weekend.

Rudimental & Major Lazer created a banger of a summer song with “Let Me Live” which features Anne-Marie & MR. Eazi.

Sir Paul McCartney put out a double-A side single this week. The first song is the slower paced “I Don’t Know” and is followed by the upbeat, summery “Come On To Me”.

One of our favorite live acts, Sylvan Esso put out a new video that highlights their live shows and fan interactions. Be sure to check them out if they come to your town.

Friday Playlist 6/8/18

This week’s Friday Playlist could work for as a party mix for a pretty banging house party.

We start off with a rapper that does not rest on his laurels. G. Yamazawa is back again this week with “Breathe”.

Troye Sivan is an electronic music producer and actor. He creates some infectious tune such as “Bloom”

The Gorillaz are back and created a video for the song “Humility” that involves cartoon characters in the real world and a fair amount of product placement.

Twin Shadow worked with Power-Pop sister trio, HIAM to create the infectious “Saturdays”.

Mahalia’s new track “I wish I Missed My Ex” is reminiscent of Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Solange. This single really touched us and we hope you will enjoy it also.

It is easy to groove and dance to the Dub Step leaning “Feel Good” which was created by Maribou State.

Blue Angels makes you want to dance around with his new track “Far Enough”. Very little is known about Blue Angels, and no matter what we expect bing things from him

Though this has been around for a while now, Gabriella Cohen showcases her beautiful vocals and instrumentation on “Baby”.

Friday Playlist: 5/25/18

Over the last week we have discovered quite a few musical treats that we want to share with you.

We start off with one of our favorite musicians James Blake and “Don’t Miss It”. This is a song he debuted this week on his BBC1 radio show.

CupcakKe is always provocative, and her video “Quiz” borrows imagery from one of our favorite movies, Kill Bill.

Leikeli47 has created a great summer song with “Money”. This is a song that longs for road trips in a convertible.

We shot this video during an intimate performance by Vagabon here in Dallas. “The Embers” is our favorite song from her album, Infinite Worlds.

Tyler the Creator released a forgotten track this week called “435”.

Today Harvey Weinstein will be turning himself into authorities and I am sure there will be a bit of a smile on the faces of Amanda Palmer & Jasmine Power who just released “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now”. It is a song that puts words to the feelings that women feel all too often when men place them in horrible situations.

Saturday Night Live shared a pre-filmed musical skit that involves a Haim style band and Nicki Minaj.

One of the most moving voices in modern music belongs to Neko Case. She is about to release a new album. Here is the first song from the album she has shared, “Curse of the I-5 Corridor”.

Friday Playlist: 5/18/18

We missed last Friday, but we are back this week with a new Friday Playlist.

We start off with a provocative video that was created to accompany a great song. Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)’s “This is America” is an in your face video and song. There is much symbolism and meaning behind this video, and a Google search and a bit of reading is sure to alter future viewings for you.

Frank Turner was one of our favorite SXSW 2018 performers. We posted a video we shot in the past, but this is the official video for “Make America Great Again”.

The Arctic Monkeys are back with a new album and a new sound that is much less The Birthday Party and much more Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

We had a chance to see Kendrick Lamar on the TDE Championship tour. Here is a video of part of his performance of “Element”.

G. Yamazawa has been busy recently and his latest video/song is “Violence”. There is some great dancing in the video. The song is meaningful and very much of the time.

Quiet Slang is the band for anyone that loves when a punk band plays a ballad. It is James Alex,the lead singer of Beach Slang, slowing down Beach Slang songs to create some beautiful tracks.

Frog Eyesare an experimental indie rock band that has reportedly just released their final album.

Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit left this world too soon after he lost his battle with depression. We have seen the band many times, in fact seeing them less than 14 hours apart on two separate occasions. This is a video from a performance we saw at Glastonbury 2016.

New Friday Playlist for 5/4/18

Another Friday, another play list.

We start off by wishing everyone a happy May 4th. May the Fourth be with you.

Liz Phair is reissuing the seminal album Exile in Guyville for its 25th Anniversary. This is an album, that would be completely of the moment in the #MeToo movement. To quote Martha Graham: “No artist is ahead of his time. He is the time. It is just that others are behind the time.” Not many of the songs are available on YouTube, except in live versions, but here is a song that would fit in on a CupcakKe album, “Flower”.

The new Matt and Kim album, Almost Everyday is out out today and streaming everywhere. Here is a video of “Forever” that we shot live in Dallas.

We had a chance to see G. Yamazawa at SXSW and he has a new, culturally and politically relevant track, “Talk that Talk”.

Shakey Graves is an Austin artist that has never been as popular as his music deserves. Maybe his new album, Can’t Wake Up will change that.

Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer has been on almost constant replay for SWB since last week. Here is the closing track,”Americans”, with its hopeful tone and message.

Dirty Projectors are a ?band?, or maybe just a performer (David Longstreth) that has been undergoing nearly constant change both in line-up and musical tone. Here is a list of Past Members from their Wikipedia entry" Past members: Rostam Batmanglij, Olga Bell, Tyondai Braxton, Anneli Chambliss, Emily Cheeger, Amber Coffman, Haley Louise Dekle, Angel Deradoorian, Teresa Eggers, Alex Farrill, Adam Forkner, Larkin Grimm, Clarice Jensen, Spencer Kingman, Ezra Koenig, Jake Longstreth, Charlie Looker, Steve Marion, Brian McOmber, Sharon Nakhimovsky, Francisco Javier Paredes, Jessica Pavone, Mauro Refosco, Yasemin Schatz, Nadia Sirota, Susanna Waiche, Jenn Wasner". To be honest, this is not one of our favorite DP songs, but maybe “Break-Thru” will be one of yours.

New Orleans is our favorite city to vacation to, and we will be there next month. The Parquet Courts video and song “Mardi Gras Beads”. has us Louisiana Dreaming.

Friday Playlist 4/27/18

It has been a busy week for us at Stairwellbaby, and we are sorry for the lack of posts, we will catch up soon with new reviews (concerts and albums). In the meantime here is a playlist that includes a few videos we shot this week.

We start off yet another playlist with another new song by from one of the albums we are most looking forward to Janelle Monáe album is finally out this week and we are including her most recent video, “I Like That”. Yes sure to check out the album Dirty Computer, which is out today.

The next video combines one of our favorite electronic artists with an amazing vocalist. It is “Black Snow” by Oneohtrix Point Never, featuring Anohni.

Lykke Li has never been one of my favorite musicians, but I can really dig her new song “Hard Rain”.

We had a chance to see this very personal story told at SXSW, and now you can hear Okkervil River’s “Famous Tracheotomies” and read the lyrics along.

We love the new Speedy Ortiz album, Twerp Verse. (possible review incoming) Here is one of the new songs, “Lean in When I Suffer”, played live at SXSW

Our list ends with 3 videos from concerts this week including one by Ty Segall and two by Breeders including a Beatles cover.

New Friday Playlist for 4/20/18

This Friday list has some new music and a few Coachella videos.

We start our playlist with another new song by from one of the albums we are most looking forward to Janelle Monáe has another visual spectacle with the video for her new song, “PYNK”. Luckily, we do not have to wait too much longer as Dirty Computer will be out next Friday April 27.

The next video is animated and to one of Canadian punk band, METZ , new songs “Mr Plague”.

Gang of Four is a British band that has been around off and on since 1977. They are back with some social commentary with their new song “Ivanka (Things You Can’t Have)” which includes quotes from Trump’s favorite daughter.

Douglas Adams is one of our favorite authors, and we were excited to see a song title and video inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Maynard James Keenan took a break from making wine in order to record a new record with A Perfect Circle called “So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish”.

We would be remiss to not post a Kendrick Lamar video after he won the Pulitzer Prize for DAMN. The first release, way back when, was his video for “HUMBLE.”

Beyoncé ruled the first weekend of Coachella and here is a video of when she came out.

It is no secret that Perfume Genius is one of our favorite musicians. Coachella put up this high quality live video of “Slip Away”.

Another of our favorite musicians, Vince Staples performed this past week in Indio, CA. Here is his breakthrough song “Norf Norf”. Also, if you have never seen it, be sure to check out the Christian Mom commentary video that is on Youtube (not to mention the hilarious Atlanta parody from season 2).

Vince Staples was joined by Kendrick Lamar At the end of his set for “Yeah Right”.

Our list ends with a new Father John Misty song, “Disappointing Diamonds are the Rarest of Them All”, from his upcoming album that is due June 1st.

Friday 4/13/18 Playlist

This Friday list has a couple of the videos we shot this week.

We start our playlist with a group that we never really appreciated until we saw them at Bonnaroo in 2015 Florence + The Machine are back with a new song, “Sky Full of Song”, that is a beautiful but restrained song , especially in comparison to their big hits.

We shot the next video at the King Krule show in Dallas this week. We posted up a video of “The Locomotive”

Titus Andronicus Played an interesting and enjoyable set here in Fort Worth, which included a Jeff Buckley cover.

Hinds returns to our Friday list with another new video. This week it is “Finally Floating”. Their new album is great, and you should check it out.

Jean Grae & Quelle Chris Put out an interesting hip-hop album. It is part satire, part comedy, part political comedy, and all throwback (in the best possible way). The video for “Gold Purple Orange” is set up like a cheesy Karaoke video with some great cameos.

Goat Girl returns to our list with a live version of one of their new album tracks, “The Man”.

Buzzy Lee is the nom de guerre for Sasha Spielberg. Yes, before you bother to ask, Steven is her daughter. She has created a great pop song with “Coolhand”, and will soon have a whole EP out.

Matt and Kim Are a late addition to our playlist and a great way to start your weekend. “Glad I Tried” is another positive party anthem from the duo. We are lucky and get to see them Saturday night here in Dallas.

Album Review: L.A. Salami: The City of Bootmakers

L.A. salami does not have anything to do with a Southern California city or luncheon meats, but has everything to do with creating avant garde, genre bending 21st century Folk music...The album is of NOW, and tackles subjects such as gentrification ("Brick Lane"), radical Islam ("Terrorism (The ISIS Crisis)"),  the problems facing England with Brexit and great divisions ("England Is Unwell"), and the meaning of life ("Science+Buddhism= A Reality You Can Know")...Some great lyrics include: "and the cash flows from all the wealthy come in, Who seem not to like the scene that led them on, and the scene is gone" from "Brick Lane" and "I'm penniless, but I've sold my soul, I'm restless, but I've nowhere to go" from "Generation L(ost)...Lookman Adekunle Salami sings with the restrained energy and emotion of a hand grenade explosion being channeled through a drinking straw...Tackling important subjects would be a waste of time if his music was not catching and enjoyable. 

The album will be out and streaming everywhere on Friday 4/13. Here are a couple of the songs that we really like off of the new album (also "Terrorism (The ISIS Crisis)" is on last Friday's playlist).

 

Concert Review: Titus Andronicus "Acoustic"

Here is our review of the Titus Andronicus "Acoustic" Concert from 4/6/2018 in Fort Worth, TX. 

..."Acoustic" is actually "Stripped Down" and the performance was with an electric guitar and electric piano. There was no percussion or traditional rhythm section...Even Stripped down, Titus Andronicus is a high energy show...Patrick Stickles, has a skill with stage banter that is on the level of Tom Waits, Dan Deacon, or Father John Misty. With a full band, or alone, Patrick's conversations with himself and advice to the crowd are always a highlight of any T@ show...The removal of the drums and bass guitar gave the vocals room to breathe. This enabled the crowd to focus on the depth and meaning of the lyrics, which is very different than a typical T@ show that would involve multiple mosh pits and crowd dives...They performed covers of rarity tracks by Velvet Underground and Lou Reed (and possibly a song or two others we did not recognize) along with the theme from Cheers...Patrick's mother is getting married and he has a future sister-in-law living in Texas, and though he supports his mother's marriage, he does not support marriage in general or procreation. 

Here are some photos followed by a video of Patrick performing while sitting at the bar opposite the stage. 

 

Patrick.jpg
Titus Andronicus Acoustic.jpg
Patrick Stickles.jpg
Titus Cheers.jpg

Friday Playlist: 4/6/18

This week we return with our first Friday playlist since last month. There is a lot of great music coming out this April.

We start our playlist with a song that we put up earlier this week from Miya Folick. We cannot get this great track out of our heads. The sound of this song is a mature step forward for a talented musician.

L.A. Salami (real name: Lookman Adekunle Salami) is a London artist that is difficult to slot into a genre. He is sometimes called a folk artists, and certainly there are times that he is. We saw him at SXSW in 2017 perform what was essentially a punk show. Whatever the genre he is not afraid to utilize difficult and controversial topics. His album The City of Bootmakers will be out 4/13 and you can stream it early on NPR HERE. “Terrorism! The ISIS Crisis” is one of his new tracks.

Hinds is an incredibly fun band to listen to and even more enjoyable in person. They are from Barcelona but create a music that creates retro American rock vibes, much like The Strokes. Their new album is out today and can be streamed all over the place. Here we share one of the tracks “The Club”.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra was been on our list before, and this week the new album Sex & Food is out. UMO is always a vibey, funky, fun band. “Everyone” is no exception to that rule.

The Weeknd is another falsetto voiced singer putting out some new music. He surprise dropped a new EP which includes our favorite track “Wasted Times”. This track includes a few sure to be classic Weeknd lyrics such as: “And I know right now that we’re not talkin’/I hope you know this dick is still an option” which is then followed shortly by: “You were equestrian, so ride it like a champion”.

We were disappointed that we were unable to see Goat Girl at SXSW. After hearing some of their new album, we are even more disappointed. There music has a darker tone reminiscent of Nick Cave and Warpaint. “Throw me a Bone” definitely wets our appetite.

The last two tracks are not throwback tracks, but are very reminiscent of older sounds. Sofi Tukker’s song “Batshit” is sure to bring up memories of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” and other campy dance classics of the past.

You probably would not expect a sentimental and beautiful song from a band named Mama’s Gun, but “You Make My Life a Better Place” brings up thoughts in both sentiment and sound of “You are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder.

Great New Miya Folick song

You probably do not know who Miya Folick is, and that is ok. We first heard her a couple of years ago at SXSW and were mesmerized.  After hearing her new song, we think you will feel the same way about her as we do.  She has a great new song out that could be one of many anthems for the #MeToo movement. Independent of the theme of song, it is just a great song. Check it out. 

 

If you like the song, please take the time to visit her website and listen to more of her music. Here is a picture we took from a performance at SXSW. 

Miya Folick.jpg

Thursday Night at SXSW recap in Pictures and Words

After our time at the convention center we had dinner at a party hosted by some lovely Canadians. After some wine and authentic Italian pizza, we headed across the street to the British Music Embassy for a showcase hosted by BBC 6. The night was certainly, to borrow a phase from the host country, our cup of tea. 

The night started with Nilufer Yanya. We were excited to see an artist that we had featured on a couple of our Friday playlists, and she did not disappoint. There are two videos in our SXSW playlist, and I will embed one below, because hearing is believing. 

 

nilufer yanya
Nilufer Yanya 2

Nilüfer performed  "the Florist"  during the BBC 6 showcase at SXSW. 

 

The next band we saw was, LIFE, our favorite SXSW discovery. We have already said quite a bit about the band in previous posts. Also, we plan to have have a recap of their two shows in a separate post. Therefore, I will not say much here, but share some photos from another great show. 

LIFE shades.JPG

 

Following LIFE was the energetic and amazingly fun, Shopping. Perhaps the only band that we saw that was having as much fun as the audience. 

 

After Shopping we Brexitted and left the BBC 6 showcase to see one of our Hip Hop discoveries, G. Yamazawa. We captured some video, along with our photos. Ending the night with a Durham, NC performer was so great that we repeated it on Friday Night, seeing Sylvan Esso. 

G Yamazawa

Prior to the song he retold the story of how he learned that in Korean culture "Have you eaten?" is most similar to the American phrase "Hi, how are you?" He described how, upon learning this fact, his relationship and interactions with his parents and grandparents was immediately changed.  His performance was not only entertaining, it was  uplifting and enlightening.

Here is a video of G. Yamazawa performing "Dinning Room" at SXSW 2018. 

Stairwell Baby Videos from SXSW 2018

Today we took some time to put together a playlist of videos that we shot from SXSW this year. It is just a sampling of some of the artists, but we think it will give a good exposure to the variety of performers and performance spaces. We also hope that it will turn you on to some great new musicians.

Oscars tonight

We are anxiously anticipating tonight’s performance by Sufjan Stevens along with St. Vincent (Annie Clark), Moses Sumney, and Chris Thile. They will be performing the beautiful “Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name. 

Here is Elliot Smith’s amazing Oscar performance which helps to remind us of why it is worth having the songs featured during a movie award show.  

 

 

SXSW 2018 Recommendations Part 7

Here is our seventh group of recommended artists that will be performing at SXSW 2018

This list is chosen by Jamie.

Hayley Heynderickx is a doom folk artist from Portland, OR. We originally heard her on an NPR All Songs Considered Podcast
Hayley Heynderickx
RIYL: Courtney Barnett, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen
Pseudo Genre: Doom Folk

Here is the official video for “Yom She La La”. This was written as an entry into a one day song writing contest.

The second video is a live version of “Drinking Song” performed at NPR’s Tiny Desk.


Lucy Dacus was inspired by a reunion with her birth family that occurred after she released her first album. She is about to make a splash in a big way after signing with a new label.
Lucy Dacus
RIYL: Courtney Barnett, Lily Allen
Pseudo Genre: Punk Folk

”Night Shift” is a 6 plus minute epic track that changes tempo and showcases her singing and musicianship.

We love the raw performances at Bob Boilen of NPR’s desk. Here is Lucy’s Tiny Desk Concert


IDER are old schoolmates that formed a band and moved together into a 2 bedroom apartment music studio where they create songs with lovely harmonies.
IDER
RIYL: Lucius, Dirty Projectors, Wilson Phillips
Pseudo Genre: Folktronica
This live version of “Body Love” really showcases their strong harmonies.

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This is a studio version of “Learn to Let Go” that demonstrates their fully produced sound.


Invoke is a string quartet making modern classical music. They are currently in residence at The University of Texas, Austin
Invoke
RIYL: Yo Yo Ma, Orchestras
Pseudo Genre: Modern Classical

Here is a video from a a TED talk

Friday Playlist 3/2/18

This week we get ready for SXSW which starts next week, so it is a bit of a short list. We have a lot of covers and songs with guests artists this week.

One of the songs we couldn’t find on Youtube so you will have to click right HERE in order to hear a reinterpretation of Kanye West’s “Runaway” by Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Now onto our Youtube playlist....

Iceage put out another new song from their upcoming album. “Pain Killer” is a bit more upbeat than typical the Iceage sound and it features Sky Ferreira of acting and music semi-fame.

Superorganism covered the classic Pavement song “Cut Your Hair” on Sirius radio. You have to love when a new band you are excited to hear from covers one of your old favorites.

Lucius and their silky smooth voices pull off a cover of another band with silky smooth voices, Dirty Projectors. The vinyl looks gorgeous with optical illusions and the ladies of Lucius always sound amazing.

The Breeders return with a new album this week. Kim, Kelly and the rest of the band area always pushing boundaries and creating new sounds.

Suuns new album is out this week and you can get a taste of their sound with “Watch You, Watch Me”.

Finally our list is rounded out with a new song from CHVRCHES that features the distinctive baritone of Matt Berninger of The National.