A music blog, established 2010. My name is Chris Cappello and I'm a Yale student from New Haven, Connecticut.

"House of Wolves"
Saturday, June 30, 2012

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 6/29/12

Thanks as always for tuning in to Left of the Dial last night on WNHU. Last night’s broadcast included a lot of new tracks, a number of which will appear on my June 2012 mix. That mix will be up later today on the blog to stream via 8tracks. If you missed the show last night, you can stream the playlist on Spotify at the embedded link below. Unfortunately, a lot of the tracks aren’t available on Spotify, but it’s the best option at this point. I guess you’ll just have to deal. Anyway, if you’re really interested, I’ve provided individual links to stream each one of the songs that weren’t available on Spotify. 

Thanks again for tuning in, and be sure to catch next week’s program, on which I’ll be playing tracks from some of my favorite artists performing at the Pitchfork Music Festival in two weeks.

  • 1. The Hold Steady - “Constructive Summer”
  • 2. Jawbreaker - “The Boat Dreams From The Hill”
  • 3. Titus Andronicus - “Titus Andronicus”
  • 4. Spirit Night - "Kerouac"
  • 5. Ty Segall Band - “I Bought My Eyes”
  • 6. Built to Spill - "Distopian Dream Girl"
  • 7. The Promise Ring - “Perfect Lines”
  • 8. Milkshakes - "Kalabar’s Revenge"
  • 9. Donovan Wolfington - "Spencer Green"
  • 10. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - "I Will Be Okay. Everything"
  • 11. DIIV - “Doused”
  • 12. Jens Lekman - “Your Arms Around Me”
  • 13. The Smiths - “What Difference Does It Make?”
  • 14. Literature - "ESQUIRE ESQUIRE"
  • 15. Tilly and the Wall - "Love Riot"
  • 16. Fiona Apple - “Werewolf”
  • 17. Destroyer - “Savage Night At The Opera”
  • 18. Mister Heavenly - “Diddy Eyes”
  • 19. Baths - “You’re My Excuse To Travel”
  • 20. Milo - “The confrontation at Khazad-dûm”
  • 21. WHY? - “Sod In The Seed”
  • 22. Nana Grizol - “Tambourine-N-Thyme”
  • 23. Spider Bags - “My Oh My”
  • 24. Jens Lekman - “Waiting For Kirsten”
  • 25. The Helveticas - “Streetlight”
  • 26. Jose Oyola - “I’m The Cloud”
  • 27. The Human Fly - "Moth"
  • 28. House Of Wolves - “There She Goes”
  • 29. David Bello - “Rubberneck”
  • 30. Into It. Over It. - "Pontiac, MI (Acoustic)"
  • 31. Jake Shaker - "Let My Ocean Floor, Eternal"

Stream via Spotify:

Thursday, June 21, 2012
So the guy who wrote and recorded my second favorite album of last year just wished me a happy birthday on facebook for some reason. That’s… pretty cool. The internet is weird.
Read my review of House Of Wolves' still absolutely, overwhelmingly excellent debut LP Fold In The Wind HERE.

So the guy who wrote and recorded my second favorite album of last year just wished me a happy birthday on facebook for some reason. That’s… pretty cool. The internet is weird.

Read my review of House Of Wolves' still absolutely, overwhelmingly excellent debut LP Fold In The Wind HERE.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Video: House of Wolves - “There She Goes” (Official Music Video)


PREMIERE: House of Wolves - There She Goes

Los Angeles based songwriter Rey Villalobos writes quiet, weird tunes. Accordingly, this piece directed by Łukasz Pytlik is a strange trip - vibrating at a frequency that seems to glow eerily red. It features everything from laser-eyed horses nuzzling each other to masked girls making out in a wheat field. Oddly, it fits.

Get this track on the Fold in the Wind LP released this summer.

Previously: “50’s

House of Wolves recently released one of the best albums of this year, a sublime folk masterpiece called Fold In The Wind. Now he has a new video for one of the album tracks, a bouncy number named “There She Goes.” Check out the video above, exclusively at yvynyl.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 10/14/11

Sorry for posting this a day late. Yesterday I went up to Providence for Brown University’s homecoming and hung out with Mary. I left early and got back late, so I wasn’t able to do any posting yesterday. I had a great time though, so it was worth it. Anyway, here’s the full playlist from Friday’s Left of the Dial radio broadcast on WNHU. Click the song titles to listen to them. Thanks for listening to my show to everyone who did! Tune in next Friday for another live broadcast!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

House of Wolves - Fold In The Wind (2011)

Folk music has been around for a lot longer than most music I regularly listen to. Consequently, the style as a whole seems a lot more played out than most of what I listen to. With folk, it’s not just that everyone can do it, but sometimes it actually seems like everyone does do it, at least at some point in their musical career. 

Every year or so, an album comes out that reaffirms my faith in the timelessness of folk. Last year, Nana Grizol's emotive folk masterpiece Ruth left me inspired and hopeful on the first listen and has continued to do so countless listens later. Now, I think I can safely say that I have found its successor. House Of Wolves' debut full-length Fold In The Wind is a very different record than Ruth in terms of tone and theme, but maybe that speaks to the often overlooked diversity within the sphere of folk music. 

House of Wolves is the solo project of Rey Villalobos, a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, but yet another “guy with a guitar” he is not. As stated on his facebook page, Villalobos is a classically trained pianist, and cites the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin as his chief musical influence. Also of note is the origin of the project’s name. From Spanish to English, “Villa lobos” roughly translates to House of Wolves. This is indicative of just how personal Villalobos’ music is, and how inextricably tied his intimate thoughts and emotions are to his music. He’s the latest in a long line of songwriters who expertly flirt with the dangerous prospect of lyrical over-sharing but never fully venture into that territory. The feelings he expresses on Fold In The Wind — sometimes blatantly, in songs like the gorgeous “Jealous” — are all genuine, but he leaves many of the details up to the listener’s interpretation. This makes the songs on the album relatable to listeners but keeps them grounded in the experiences of the songwriter. Through poetic but simple lyrical sentiments, Villalobos achieves this balance. It helps that the most striking lines in each of these eleven songs are often the catchiest as well. In the chorus of the previously mentioned “Jealous,” he sings “I’m already jealous” with just an ounce of bitterness. On the low-tempo piece “Ageless”, he desperately sings “The fallen is saved / I wanna make things right” before heading into the chorus. As listeners, we’re left yearning to discover the true inspirations for these songs and their deliberately vague and often mysterious lyrics.

As good as they are, Fold In The Wind's lyrics would make much less of an impact if Villalobos didn't have to the voice to back them up. Thankfully, this is not the case. Villalobos' vocals are possibly the most beautiful instrument I've heard on any album this year. Listening to this record, his voice is probably the first thing you'll notice. On the sadly nostalgic opener “50's”, a track which I first reviewed for The Needle Drop back in July, his cracked, reedy voice comes through clearly over the gentle guitar, percussion, and piano. With his heavenly, wispy vocals, he delivers some of the most bittersweet, depressing, and yet somehow romantic opening lines of any song I’ve heard: “Kiss me like it’s the 50’s / Pull your hands from the ground /  Kiss me like it’s your ending / Never place me far from your sound.”

The instrumentation on the track builds with horns and more pronounced strings, but it all remains centered around Villalobos’ voice. He sounds like someone we’ve all heard before, but never in this context. Somewhere between the serenity of Sufjan Stevens circa Seven Swans and the broken, diminished innocence of Perfume Genius, Villalobos’ voice is immediately arresting. Maybe more than anyone else, his voice recalls that of Youth Lagoon's Trevor Powers, although it should be said that Fold In The Wind is a much more powerful album than the new Youth Lagoon record The Year Of Hibernation.

"50’s" sets a good standard for what follows on Fold In The Wind, both musically and lyrically. Coupled with the strength of the following track “Jealous”, you’d think that this record must peak early, but the subsequent nine tracks live up to the very high musical level set by the first two. There isn’t much stylistic range between songs, but there doesn’t need to be. Villalobos has a formula that works, and he employs it like a master craftsman throughout the album’s 36 minutes. Slowly plucked or strummed acoustic guitar, light piano flickers, minimal percussion, and auxiliary horns for texture form the instrumental backbone of all of the songs on Fold In The Wind. It’s mixed perfectly, with Villalobos’ voice in the center and the instrumentation forming a lush sonic circle around him. Production highlights include the subtle vocal harmonies in the chorus of “Follow Me”, the Belle and Sebastian-style sway of “There She Goes” and the abandoned circus feel of the closing track “Flight”, which is complimented by its music-box melody. Combined with the often bittersweet lyrics, a lot of these instrumental flourishes procure some remarkably deep-seeded feelings of nostalgia.

 As Summer changes to Autumn, it becomes increasingly hard to gauge what the outside temperature will be on a given day. I’ve been listening to Fold In The Wind on my fifteen minute walk to school every morning for the past two weeks, and I’ve been astounded at how the record’s tone seems to shift to match the environment around it. On warm, brightly lit Fall mornings, Fold In The Wind is a gentle and cool breeze nipping at your sleeves. On dark, overcast mornings that don’t really feel like mornings at all, the record is as cold and unforgiving as the foggy air that hangs over your whole town. On chilly rainy days, it’s either a stinging front of wind or a heated resting place to keep you safe from the elements. As sad as this record certainly is, I often find it to be remarkably comforting to listen to. Somewhere beyond the icy corridors and empty hallways of House of Wolves, there is a warm and powerful hearth that burns with the flames of understanding and genuine honesty. Finding it may prove to be a challenge, but the rewards will undoubtedly prove to outweigh the trials of discovery. 


Key Tracks: “50’s”, “Jealous”, “Follow Me”

Fold In The Wind is available for streaming on the House of Wolves bandcamp page, and can be purchased there on CD (/100) for $11 and digitally for $9.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 9/30/11

Here’s the playlist from last night’s live broadcast of my radio show Left of the Dial on WNHU. This was a fun show with a lot of great new stuff. Thanks to everyone who suggested new music for me to listen to over this past week! Check out the playlist below, with links to each song when I could find them. 

Tune into WNHU again next Friday from 6 to 8 PM Eastern time for another live broadcast!

Friday, September 30, 2011
Listen Now: Left of the Dial live on WNHU

Tune in now!

Hey everyone! It’s a Friday and I’m currently in the studio at the University of New Haven, which means that it’s time for another live broadcast of my weekly radio show Left of the Dial on WNHU. I will be broadcasting for the next two hours (from 6 to 8 PM Eastern time). There is a lot of exciting new music on the playlist for tonight’s show, including tracks by Real Estate, Year In Review, The Middle East, and House of Wolves (whose record Fold In The Wind I’m planning to review soon).

Click the link above to tune in now. Feel free to drop me a request or just say hi at my ask box. I’ll be checking tumblr all night during my show. The playlist will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weekly Needle Drops: 

Song of the Day Number 188

House of Wolves - “50’s”

Originally posted on The Needle Drop HERE

When I was first introduced to House of Wolves, I was confused. According to his facebook page, House of Wolves is a solo project of Rey Villalobos, a singer-songwriter from California. Although he’s a man, I could have sworn that the vocals I was hearing when listening to House of Wolves’ new album Fold In The Wind were female. They weren’t, as it turns out.

Rather, like his contemporaries Sufjan Stevens and Mike Hadreas (a.k.a. Perfume Genius), Villalobos just happens to possess such an incredibly tender and fragile voice that he almost sounds feminine at times. This is by no means an insult, as it adds a formidable layer of humility and general personality to his songs, most of which are gentle indie folk musings culled from loss and personal sadness.

On “50′s”, the opening track from Fold In The Wind, Villalobos sets a nostalgic tone with his heartbreaking lyrics and reedy voice. On this song, which is available to download for free on the House of Wolves Bandcamp, the Perfume Genius comparison is particularly apt. While this track has a lot going for it musically, it is the impenetrably dark sound of the piano that really stands out. Like Perfume Genius did beautifully on last year’s Learning, House of Wolves uses the piano and distant horns on “50′s” to accentuate and complement the lyrics, leaving Villalobos’ voice in the center.

The self-released album is available to download on Bandcamp for $8.

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