Foxxhound and 28 North – live at The Mint, Los Angeles, August 5

Beautiful concert, very pretty, well-constructed music. Acoustic guitar, cello, drums. It’s all gentle, all of it including the singing, with the exception of the lyrics. They carry real drama, feeling and are pretty interesting in themselves. Not as “song about absurd concept”, but as “yet another take, interesting at that, on real life stuff”.

The album linked above includes the songs they played and it’s pretty good as well.

You know, “indie”. Is it exceptional? Sorry dudes, I don’t think so. It isn’t as hard as it seems to find nice music around. Damn if it doesn’t feel good when you actually find it though. Has this band enriched my musical appreciation? Nope. But I feel glad I won’t die without listening to “When you wish upon a bar” and “Seams”, because they are gorgeous and our universe isn’t ┬áinfinite, it isn’t even the only one. There are actually many universes sitting side by side in the cosmos, the scientists are trying to prove it by finding sings from another universe sitting next to ours. You know? It’s all so big, there are so many aliens we will never meet because everything in the multiverse is so far away, we just do things and die here in this universe, what’s the point. But those songs are pretty, so I’m glad I didn’t die yesterday before going to the place.

They were very, very fun. But they don’t have bandcamp or soundcloud. Here’s their website:

http://www.28north.com/

Anyhow, as the lead singer mentioned, the 90’s were pretty awesome, and they really have their hand at the 90’s version of pure rock n roll, the Guns n Roses sort of stuff. It isn’t the most interesting music, but it’s pretty fun alright, I wish them the best. Since they have been opening for more notorious bands and actually touring the US, it kind of falls outside of the scope of the blog. This is more like a recommendation to go see them if they are in town.

Two other bands played, Gabe Rosenn Band and Lumaria. The first is one of those blues bands, you know? Yeah. Lumaria is awful.

-Carpeaux

Things Behind The Sun – Nuclear Years

There is no mistery to this. This is folkish alternative rock with a violin and a cello – not for musical detail, but continually: they provide the actual music, even though the rhythm guitar is still there. So yeah, this is some pretty stuff and not only because of the strings section. Every instrument is competently played and the same goes for the lyrics and singing, which are well-polished and dramatic. In itself it is not only good, but perfect. It seems to have been recorded in a studio and they actually ask for a price for the album, so these guys are clearly in another level compared to most stuff reviewed here. Let me finish this paragraph by saying this is absolutely worth your 7 bucks, you can give it to your mother or girlfriend, I am sure they will like it. It’s just that likable.

But I’m not really writing this for mothers and girlfriends, so let the harsher review begin, ye people interested in music. First, for you also there will be something in this album. We are always in this ungrateful battle for original music and something that we can’t possibly forget by next month. The overall sound of this is certainly special and will give you a couple of pleasurable listens. Isn’t this all we ask? But the truth is this is pretty as a bird, but unfortunately I don’t really think this is great music. I just have to compare it to Fleet Foxes, the kind of prettiness this guys are pointing at I think is very much of the type the Fleet Foxes have achieved and delivered to millions of mothers and girlfriends around the world. So, I don’t see anything as great as “White Winter Hymnal”, “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”, “Blue Ridge Mountains”. Most of the time I see myself not really caring for the lyrics or for the┬áexaggerated, a bit forced, emotions of the singer. This might be just me, since I’m not much of an emotional person, but I got quite shook-up the first time I listened to the songs above and I feel nothing with these.

I kind of got bored of the strings also. Yeah, I never said “I got bored of Mastodon’s guitars, why don’t they play a banjo every now and then?”, but for one reason or another I got bored of the violin here. Again I don’t know if that’s just me, since I have listened to a lot of Classical music and might therefore be unimpressed by simply listening to violins and cellos. Trying to break free from my subjectivity here, I must add that the violins are played in a varied manner, it’s not the same wankery all the time like a Hollywood movie soundtrack or something. They carry nice melodies, provide dramatic build-ups and stops, deliver pretty musical detail and don’t feel like a gimmick at any point.

Man, I’m really an asshole. I think “The Adder” might be my favorite exactly because there are no strings. Reflecting on this track I little bit more, maybe the strings in the others provide an overdose of emotion and drama, making it all sound melodramatic and forced. It’s like they are rubbing the prettiness in your face. This track also features a really nice piano, I wish I saw more of that in the album. The last song is actually one of the best in the album as well, don’t miss that.

So is this a classic? Best album of the year? Shit, unfortunately not. But it’s well worth a couple listens and after you grow tired of it, give it to your girlfriend, I’m sure it will be her album of the year, with all the shit she listens to.

I hope these guys get their lucky break, some of this would fit in a romantic movie soundtrack like an old shoe.

-Carpeaux