So I forgot about this whole “look into every band playing ACL to make my ultimate schedule” thing. Big mistake. Time is ticking down and I have many more bands to investigate along my journey, I’m going to have to kick this up a notch. So without further ado, the B Bands.
Voting Scale is 1-5. 5’s are must see bands and 1’s are bands my ears will not be partying with.
Balmorhea: Discovering this band has been quite a wonderful surprise. From the time I read that this band scored actual films live, I was completely intrigued. After giving them a listen, they’ve gone on to score a large chunk of the soundtrack of my life, as they are my new favorite band to listen to while I edit. There music is subtle, emotional and beautiful, all without words. I love the blend of instruments and found sounds. I never thought I could enjoy a vocal-less band so much!
My Vote: 5 (Hopefully I like lyric-less music as much live!)
Band of Horses: The Band of Horses Bandwagon has been accumulating fans like crazy over the past year. I’m happy to take a ride on that wagon. Band of Horses has been described as Neil Young meets My Morning Jacket. It’s a bit of twangy Americana classic rock. I really enjoy their earlier stuff but think their latest release falls a bit flat. After searching the internet a bit, I found this to be a very popular opinion. Regardless, I think they’ll put on a well polished, entertaining show.
My Vote: 4
Basia Bulat: As soon as I heard Bulat, I knew her voice but couldn’t put my finger on why. Well, she happens to be the vocalist from that Subaru commercials. Sigh… I always feel better when I can place things like that. (Thanks Internet!) The Canadian singer has a folky style with an aptitude for poignant songwriting. She plays instruments ranging from the autoharp to the ukelele and has a raw, natural voice that is completely endearing. Her music is really growing on me. When I first heard it, I was ready to pass but that voice just gets me. I may just have to give her a listen.
My Vote: 3
Beach House: This Baltimore-based duo has a very unique sound. I’d call it haunting. Or ethereal. The ACL website calls it dream-pop. Their voices seem to float in and out of their songs alongside the haunting (there’s that word again) waves of their instruments. I haven’t heard much like it. It’s the kind of music that I think would be played in a trip-out montage in a movie. Very trippy. I’m thinking dream-pop will not be a new genre in my iTunes anytime soon. It’s just a little too weightless for me.
My Vote: 2
Bear in Heaven: The Brooklyn-based group would best be classified somewhere between electronic and experimental rock. Music classifications are getting weirder and weirder huh? I really like them. They’re definitely mood music. I enjoyed them about twice as much when it was raining outside. It’s the kid of music you listen to when you want to just sink into how you’re already feeling. So I guess whether I see them or not depends on how I’m feeling. And whether its raining.
My Vote: 3 (4 if its raining)
Beats Antique: I guess the best way to sum up this trio is–eclectic. They mix Middle-Eastern music with acoustic guitars, strings, horns, electronics and I’m pretty sure I head a didgeridoo in there. Not positive, but pretty sure. They’ve got a definite dancing rhythm to them which makes sense when you find out their debut album was produced with the intent to compliment one of the members style of belly-dancing. They’re apparently all about the theatrics too. Not only is there stage frequently filled with belly-dancing but they also don animal heads and dance around stage. I may just need to see this in person.
My Vote: 4
Black Lips: The Black Lips seem to be more known for their stage antics than their music. Their antics include a wide variety of shock-value material, bodily fluids, band members kissing each other. That sort of thing. Kin dof reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne and his shock value. Their music, while less offensive, with its upbeat garage-band feel, is underwhelming with mediocre vocals and sloppy execution. Lots of people seem to like them, but I’m not one. Maybe I missed something? Oh well.
My Vote: 1
Blind Pilot: This band had the prestigious honor of being iTunes single of the week back in 2008, which let’s be honest isn’t a real testimony to their talent. I mean, have you heard some of the singles of the week? Bleh… However, in this case I’m regretting missing out on a free single because I really love these guys. There music is simple and beautiful with the kind of upbeat melancholy that makes for the perfect night time road trip song. And for the record that is one of my favorite types of music–night time road trip music. Just hearing it gives me the vision of white stripes approaching and flying past on the asphalt. I love his voice, soft and genuine. This is currently winning the “which cd will I buy at ACL” battle.
My Vote: 5
Blues Traveler: Just reading their name makes me happy. They have been around forever. I looked it up, they’ve been a band since I was 4. John Hopper is great at segues and that rambling scat-style of singing–a definite jam band. There are three reason I think I should go see Blues Traveler. 1) I love harmonicas. 2) I want to hear them play the song Run Around and reminisce about junior high 3) (this is the most important reason) I want to prove that I can sing along to the part of Hook where he starts singing suck it in suck it in if you’re Rin Tin Tin or Anne Boleyn make a desperate move or else you’ll win and then begin to see what you’re doing to me this MTV is not for free it’s so PC it’s killing me….Apparently I will have to learn the lyrics first because I was way off!!
My Vote: 3
Broken Bells: I’m a big fan of this collaboration between Danger Mouse and James Mercer of the Shins. It’s a wonderful collaboration in that it never seems to be simply injecting one style into another but rather weaving them perfectly into something altogether new. Something equally urban hip hop and indie rock at the same time. The lyrics are moody and pensive and their vocals compliment in a slightly weird but absolute ideal way. Who knows how many more shows these two will play together? Got to get while the gettin’ is good.
My Vote: 5 (although I wavered)
Buddy & The Straightway Travelers: This is a local gospel group, which means one thing: they have voices and they know how to belt out some soul! There is part of me that really loves gospel. There are something about gospel vocals, all deep and wide, that no other music can even hint at achieving. Voices that seem to have so much joy and sorrow rolled together they’re just mesmerizing. I’m not sure ACL is my ideal venue for gospel but who knows I may just have to hop over.
My Vote: 2
I’m glad to be back on track.