January 2012

The Cave Singers

Seattle's ancient-sounding darlings.

The Cave Singers’ sound takes a bit of getting used to. Lead singer Pete Quirk’s vocals are shaky and shrill, often a tiny bit off-key. The band uses quite cyclical repetitions as their standard, as well as perhaps excessive tambourine licks and vocal wailing. But once you get over these idiosyncracies, you’ll start to realize that you’re really addicted to The Cave Singers' music. Pete Quirk’s voice begins sounding raw and timeless, the cyclical music, wails and tambourines begin sounding like they're part of some old-fashioned, whiskey-filled revival. I’ve fallen hard.

Influential Chinese composers


The Cultural Revolution in China was a period dominated by anti-western and anti-capitalist sentiments. However, that attitude has completely flipped and now, Chinese musicians who’ve grown up post-revolution are flooding both Chinese and western music conservatories and introducing their own styles of music, fusing Chinese traditions with modern sounds. While in the midst of the Chinese New Year, I think it’s appropriate to highlight some of these composers who are working to bring their works to American listeners, as well as audiences around the world.

Blind Pilot's "We Are the Tide"

A rollicking sophomore album.

I have been a fan of the band Blind Pilot since their debut album 3 Rounds and a Sound, which was released back in 2008. The Portland, Oregon-based band has a perhaps unusual advantage in alternative rock bands popular today: a lead singer, Israel Nebeker, with a gorgeous voice. Their sophomore album, We Are the Tide, was released this past September, and the band is touring extensively throughout the U.S. to promote it.

Radical Face's "The Family Tree: The Roots"

I have never seen Ben Cooper aka Radical Face aka Electric President in concert. He has never been in my neck of the woods as far as I can tell, and now he’s going to take a fancy tour around Europe, without any domestic tour dates as of yet. His atmospheric, lyrical and conceptual records are some of the most interesting being made these days, so note to Cooper: we’d like to see you someday!