Video: Japandroids - “The House That Heaven Built” (Official Music Video)
When the time comes to look back on Summer 2012, I know what the soundtrack to my nostalgic journey down memory lane will be. In all its self-aggrandizing guitar glory, “The House That Heaven Built” is the apex of Japandroids’ indomitably excellent Celebration Rock — the point at which the celebration turns into something truly transcendent. It’s appropriate, then, that the song receive the music video treatment.
Visually, the “House” clip delivers exactly what the song itself conveys musically. It’s huge, with sweeping, beautiful black and white footage, but there’s also a scrappy, DIY quality to it, as indicated by the occasional hand-held camera shots. It fantasizes and alludes to a larger than life existence, and yet it still feels intensely personal. Shots of band members Brian King and David Prowse partying, drinking, and playing shows are spliced with footage of them reading, driving around, and hanging out with friends in more intimate settings. From Celebration Rock, it’s clear that Japandroids embrace the rock star lifestyle, and although this video finds them reveling in its trappings, it also suggests that they haven’t lost their way as real, relatable people too. They are on track to becoming the everyman’s indie rock band, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Watch the video for “The House That Heaven Built” above and read my review of Celebration Rock HERE.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 7/20/12
- 1. The Mountain Goats & Kaki King - “Black Pear Tree”
- 2. Frank Ocean - “Thinkin Bout You”
- 3. Built to Spill - “Hindsight”
- 4. Fang Island - “Make Me”
- 5. Baroness - “March To The Sea” (Requested by rainbowsrillusions)
- 6. Japandroids - “Sovereignty”
- 7. The Men - “Open Your Heart”
- 8. The Olivia Tremor Control - “Courtyard”
- 9. The Hold Steady - “The Sweet Part Of The City”
- 10. The Mountain Goats - “Jam Eater Blues”
- 11. Jens Lekman - “If You Ever Need A Stranger (To Sing At Your Wedding)”
- 12. Into It. Over It. - “Where Your Nights Often End”
- 13. Girl In A Coma - “Their Cell” (Requested by blueshadedays)
- 14. Dirty Projectors - “Just From Chevron”
- 15. Xiu Xiu - “I Luv The Valley OH”
- 16. Tame Impala - “Apocalypse Dreams”
- 17. Frank Ocean - “Forrest Gump”
- 18. Passion Pit - “Constant Conversations”
- 19. Burial - “Archangel”
- 20. Balam Acab - “Expect”
- 21. Autechre - “Gantz Graf”
- 22. Nine Inch Nails - “Terrible Lie”
- 23. James Blake - “Limit To Your Love” (Feist cover)
- 24. LCD Soundsystem - “Someone Great”
- 25. Simon & Garfunkel - “The Only Living Boy In New York”
- 26. The Mountain Goats - “Satanic Messiah”
Stream via Spotify:
Pitchfork Music Festival 2012: Day 3 Recap
I’m sorry for not posting this earlier. I meant to put it up yesterday but I didn’t get around to it. Anyway, the last day of the Pitchfork Music Festival surprised me by how great it was. My apprehension going in was not about the quality of the bands, but rather the quantity — the Sunday lineup was stacked with tons of great bands that I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch all of. Somehow, everything managed to work out nicely, and I ended up seeing more bands on this day than any other.
The day began with a 1:00 PM set by Dirty Beaches, the nostalgic rock & roll project of Alex Zhang Hungtai. Hungtai brought a silent, sunglasses-wearing guitarist along for the show, but his presence couldn’t really be felt until at least 10 minutes into the show. Dirty Beaches began with a lengthy and boring instrumental drone that they really could have done without, but once they kicked into “A Hundred Highways,” the show got a lot more interesting. Although they closed with the rollicking rockabilly number “Sweet 17,” they didn’t play either of their excellent quieter pieces, “True Blue” or “Lord Knows Best.” This was a disappointing start to the day.
As far as I’m concerned, the real kickoff to Day 3 began with the next band. Danish punks Iceage played the green stage, delivering their caustic brand of post-punk with utmost despondency. Numerous technical setbacks during their set only made the teenaged band even more despondent — It was hard to tell what they were saying due to their accents, but I’m pretty sure frontman Elias Rønnenfelt told the crowd to fuck off at least a few times. Nevertheless, the crowd ate it up. Iceage’s set incited the biggest and most intense moshpit at the festival since Japandroids’ set two days before. Iceage are frankly not an amazing band, but their set was loud and aggressive enough to get me into the pit, and ultimately that’s what matters.
Ty Segall Band
Although they didn’t surprise me quite as much as Sleigh Bells the day before, the next act definitely surpassed my expectations from them. The Ty Segall Band, who released their debut album Slaughterhouse this year after a string of Ty Segall “solo” albums, brought a rabid intensity to their live show that I only wish their album could have captured. When they played “Girlfriend,” a gem from 2010’s Melted, I couldn’t help but crowdsurf, eliciting a few surprised “It’s Intern Chris!” shouts from the audience. Damn, this band was just great. Although we missed Thee Oh Sees due to a set time conflict with Ty Segall, we headed over to the blue stage afterwards just in time to catch the second half of The Men’s set. The band performed mostly highlights from their new album Open Your Heart, including an awesome one-two punch of “Turn It Around” and the album’s title track.
The sun was beating down on Union Park by the time The Men wrapped up their set, and what other band’s music befits a sweltering hot summer day than that of Real Estate? We saw a sizable chunk of the New Jersey jangle pop band’s set from afar, and although John and I were itching to get back to the blue stage for Kendrick Lamar, it was really hard to tear ourselves away, even though I’d already seen Real Estate twice before. As it turned out, we probably could have stayed a little longer than we did; in keeping with apparent hip-hop tradition, Kendrick Lamar didn’t go on until well after his appointed set time. When he did go on, the mix was noticeably off and I found it hard to get into his set, even though I’ve really come to love Section.80. Also, Lady Gaga showed up for some reason and was hanging out on the side of the stage during Kendrick’s set. I guess that’s kind of cool.
The end of Kendrick Lamar’s set provided us with ample cool down time, so we headed over to the red stage to camp out for Beach House’s set. Although I’ve enjoyed everything that they’ve put out, I never really identified as a huge Beach House fan before their performance on Sunday. It suffices to say that their set thoroughly changed the way I view them as a band. I was blown away by the precision, the scope, and the sheer weight of their live sound, from Victoria Legrand’s majestic vocals, to Alex Scally’s lucid guitar lines, to the refreshingly real percussive sound of their newly added live drummer. Legrand’s vocals on tracks like “Norway” and 2012 song-of-the-year contender “Lazuli” particularly stood out, floating over the festival crowd like a welcome breeze under a setting sun. As great as Japandroids were on Friday, I’m tempted to say that Beach House’s set was the best out of all the performances at Pitchfork this year.
Frankly, I would have been content to have the festival end then and there, but Beach House did not close out Sunday night. That privilege was reserved for Vampire Weekend, the ludicrously popular indie pop band from New York whose first album, some might recall, is actually pretty good. Thankfully, much of their setlist was culled from that album, from which the band played every track save for “Bryn” and “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance.” The Contra hits were all there too, although they were considerably less enjoyable. The band also debuted a new song, featuring a classical guitar lead and some Elvis Costello-reminiscent vocal theatrics.
Of course, I’m not much of a Vampire Weekend fan, nor was I particularly excited about seeing them play at this festival, but I will admit that I enjoyed their set on Sunday. Standing under the night sky in a newly familiar city, surrounded by real life friends, internet friends, and people whom I didn’t know but I’m sure I would get along with, there was really nothing I’d rather be doing than singing along to “Walcott,” unironically enjoying music that I’d always thought I’d hate. Even though their set (which was full of annoying Ezra Koenig stage banter) reaffirmed everything I’ve always claimed to dislike about Vampire Weekend, I couldn’t help but have fun. I never thought that something associated with Pitchfork would actually bring out the anti-hipster within me, but that’s exactly what happened this weekend.
To check out all of my previous Pitchfork Music Festival coverage, click HERE.
Pitchfork Music Festival 2012: Day 1 Recap
The Olivia Tremor Control
The introduction. We arrived via El Train at Union Park before 3 PM, only to be met with a torrential downpour. We stood in line for upwards of half an hour, getting soaked with hundreds of other misanthropic festival attendees. Hearing that the gates were going to remain closed until 3:30 elicited a number of groans from the line, but soon enough the rain stopped and the gates were opened. Lower Dens delivered a strong set on the red stage that got more impressive and engaging as it went on. We cut out slightly early to get a decent spot for The Olivia Tremor Control — an Elephant 6-affiliated psych rock revival band from the 90s — who happened to have Neutral Milk Hotel’s Scott Spillane playing sousaphone and trumpet for them. Jeff Mangum was nowhere to be found, unfortunately. I’m still hoping for a full on NMH reunion in 2013. Before the OTC wrapped things up on the green stage, we bunny hopped one stage further to catch Willis Earl Beal on the blue stage. During the portion of his set that we caught, Beal delivered songs ranging from foot stomping, bellowing dirges to slow, heartfelt ballads. His versatility as a songwriter and his hoarse, mighty voice drew comparisons to Tom Waits, as did his affinity for liquor; Beal downed the majority of a freshly opened bottle of Jack Daniels during his set.
We felt the need to run over to the red stage once Beal finished in order to catch A$AP Rocky, but, of course, Rocky and his crew didn’t go on until well after their posted set time. That turned out to be par for the course with most of the rappers I saw at the fest, but I’m not complaining. Rocky’s set was actually pretty great, even though his crew looked a little ridiculous onstage playing hype-men (Also, who’s that one white dude? He sucks.). Unfortunately, we had to jet before we got to hear “Peso” because we wanted good spots for Japandroids. We arrived just at the end of Tim Hecker’s set, which was pretty depressing and miserable. Honestly, I like Tim Hecker on record, but I don’t think a single person there gave a fuck about him in that moment. The vast majority of the crowd was definitely there to catch Japandroids, who were supposed to play at 6:15 but ended up going on late.
Because of the late start time, Japandroids’ set was clipped to just 8 full songs. Nevertheless, it was an awesome and intense experience that will probably go down as the most enjoyable (if not the absolute best overall) set from Pitchfork 2012 for me. Plus, as both Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock prove, sometimes 8 songs is just the right number. Highlights included the opener “Adrenaline Nightshift,” which incited a mosh pit within 5 seconds of its opening chord, and the closer “Young Hearts Spark Fire,” which segued into “Sovereignty” at the end. The segue was a nice way of acknowledging the band’s older fans, many of whom recognized the deep cut.
Bruised, battered, and absolutely loving life, John and I managed to crawl our way over to the red stage just in time to catch the beginning of Dirty Projectors’ set. The setlist mostly focused on stuff from Swing Lo Magellan (which is excellent, by the way), but they also busted out some Bitte Orca art rock classics, including “Useful Chamber,” which was extremely intense live. Other highlights included the rousing new single “Gun Has No Trigger” and the gentle love song “Impregnable Question,” during which frontman David Longstreth and guitarist/vocalist/Longstreth’s girlfriend Amber Coffman seemed to be making heart eyes at each other. Mostly, I was just amazed at how tight the band was instrumentally and vocally. The four part harmonies, which are so jarring and angular on record, are equally attuned live. It’s almost scary how good they sounded.
Dirty Projectors were the last band on Friday that I really wanted to see, so after their set, John and I just hung around for a while, catching the first half of Purity Ring’s set before heading over to the green stage to catch the rest of Feist’s. I’m not a huge fan of either group, but both their sets were enjoyable. The highlight of the latter set came at the end, when Leslie Feist and her band transformed the gentle title track from 2004’s Let It Die into an arena rock-worthy power ballad. Watching from a distance, I was able to appreciate the scope of Feist’s vision, and in that moment I understood exactly why she was headlining Day 1.
Pitchfork Music Festival 2012: Overall Recap
Well, that was a weekend. This year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park was my first experience with a big out of state festival, and all in all it was an overwhelmingly positive one. Along with my great friend John Branch, I saw a ton of bands — many more than I actually expected to see — and immersed myself in the festival lifestyle to the extent that I genuinely felt at home as I stepped off the El Train platform each morning at the stop outside of Union Park.
Over the course of the past three days, I got the chance to see some of my favorite currently active bands perform. Many surpassed my expectations, delivering electrifying and engaging live sets, while others paled in comparison to their recorded material. Some bands even managed to surprise me with sets that far outshone their records. Overall, the performances were great, and I left the park each day viewing the music of numerous artists in a very different, more positive context.
The community at the festival was also wonderful. For the most part, the loud, snapback-wearing bros stuck to the shadows, coming out in full force only during the sets of acts with larger draws, such as Sleigh Bells and A$AP Rocky. Elsewhere, from the visceral moshpits at Japandroids and Iceage to the massive, silently adulating throng watching Beach House, the crowds were largely engaged and intentful listeners. Even though everyone was ultimately at the festival with the vague motivation of “having a good time,” the music was mostly respected. That made me happy.
Speaking of which, I must say that it was absolutely incredible and awesome (if a bit strange for me) to be approached by so many people who recognized me either from this blog or from The Needle Drop. I got to meet up with a lot of internet friends and met a bunch of new ones who appreciate my work. It’s especially funny to me because I had never been to Chicago prior to this weekend.
Anyway, in the next couple days, I’ll be rolling out recaps of some of my favorite (and least favorite) moments from this year’s festival. To view a complete list of all the bands I saw, head over to the Lewis and his Blog facebook page and check out my complete set of photographs from the festival.
Japandroids - “Fire’s Highway”
It’s a beautiful day in Connecticut and I’m going running with Japandroids. Well, maybe not actually with Japandroids, but when they’re screaming and singing and “whoaaaaaah”-ing in my ear for an hour, it kind of feels like they’re really there. My running playlist has consisted almost solely of Celebration Rock ever since it leaked a couple months ago.
When I run, I experience a burning feeling deep within my chest that resolves itself by the run’s end as a tremendous sense of self-fulfillment. I go running because I need to experience that catharsis — I need to feel something real. I listen to Celebration Rock for the same reason. That’s what this album is for. To let live but never let go.
Speaking of which, this band’s presence on the lineup accounts for like 40% of my excitement regarding the Pitchfork Music Festival in a couple weeks. I’m looking forward to their set more than any other.
Anonymous asked: Hey man, are you seeing Japandroids at all this summer? I just got back from their show and it was fucking amazing.
I have tickets to their show tonight in New York, but my cousin/ride dropped out on me. I’m pretty upset. I’m still going to get to see them at the Pitchfork Music Festival in July though.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 6/1/12
Last night’s broadcast of Left of the Dial on WNHU was my first radio show of Summer 2012! That’s something to celebrate, right? I first started interning at WNHU two years ago this month, and got my show soon after that. I like to think that I’ve come a long way since then. Anyway, here’s the full, 30 track playlist from last night’s show. If you want, you can stream the 24 tracks that were available on Spotify at the embedded link at the bottom, provided that you have a Spotify account. I provided click through links for the songs that aren’t available to stream on Spotify below. Thanks for tuning in last night.
Also, as a sidenote, there won’t be another broadcast of Left of the Dial next Friday, June 8th. I’ll be playing a charity show in Glastonbury, Connecticut with some other great bands. Here’s the facebook event page if you’re interested in coming.
- 1. The Replacements - “Can’t Hardly Wait (Outtake-Electric)”
- 2. Hüsker Dü - “Makes No Sense At All”
- 3. Pavement - “Summer Babe (Winter Version)”
- 4. King Tuff - “Bad Thing”
- 5. PS I Love You - “Facelove”
- 6. Japandroids - “Evil’s Sway”
- 7. Ty Segall & White Fence - “Easy Ryder”
- 8. Algernon Cadwallader - “Horror”
- 9. Joyce Manor - “Beach Community”
- 10. Cloud Nothings - “Stay Useless” (Live at the Grog Shop)
- 11. Milkshakes - “Kalabar’s Revenge”
- 12. SPOOK HOUSES - “American”
- 13. Dan Deacon - “Lots”
- 14. World’s End Girlfriend - “Birthday Resistance”
- 15. Man Man - “Banana Ghost”
- 16. Two Humans - “Lonely Tunez”
- 17. The Magnetic Fields - “California Girls”
- 18. Cymbals Eat Guitars - “Indiana”
- 19. Cheap Girls - “Ft. Lauderdale”
- 20. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - “Round And Round”
- 21. Dirty Projectors - “Two Doves”
- 22. Sun Kil Moon - “Carry Me Ohio”
- 23. Tom Waits - “Downtown Train”
- 24. Mercury Rev - “Holes”
- 25. Pavement - “Frontwards”
- 26. Mission of Burma - “Academy Fight Song”
- 27. These United States - “Nobody Can Tell”
- 28. Bruce Springsteen - “Atlantic City”
- 29. House Of Wolves - “Love Labored Lost”
- 30. The Mountain Goats - “Going To Georgia”
Fittingly, this arrived on the first effective day of my summer vacation. The record label also threw in a free Post-Nothing poster and an Owen promo CD. Thanks again, Polyvinyl!
(Taken with Instagram)
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 5/25/12
- 1. Japandroids - “Fire’s Highway”
- 2. The War On Drugs - “Baby Missiles”
- 3. The Hold Steady - “Massive Nights”
- 4. Spirit Night - “Rubberneck” (David Bello cover)
- 5. R.E.M. - “Imitation Of Life”
- 6. Daddy Lion - “No Solution But Resolution”
- 7. Violent Femmes - “Used To Be”
- 8. The Tallest Man On Earth - “Revelation Blues”
- 9. Self Defense Family - “Self Immolation Family”
- 10. Cursive - “The Recluse”
- 11. Codeine - “D”
- 12. Sunny Day Real Estate - “Song About An Angel” (Requested by vinegar-eels)
- 13. Panda Bear - “Ponytail” (Requested by anon)
- 14. Julia Holter - “In The Same Room”
- 15. WHY? - “These Few Presidents”
- 16. Circle Circle - “Fruitflies”
- 17. Mount Eerie - “Through The Trees pt. 2”
- 18. Fugue - “White Tiger Of The West”
- 19. Perfume Genius - “17”
- 20. The Smiths - “Reel Around The Fountain”
- 21. Elvis Costello - “Alison”
- 22. Built To Spill - “Liar”
- 23. Sigur Rós - “Varúð”
- 24. Into It. Over It. - “Raw Bar OBX 2002” (Everyone Everywhere cover) (Live 05/14/2011)
- 25. Spirit Night - “The Last Time”
- 26. Erik Satie - “Gymnopédie No. 1” (Pascal Rogé)
Japandroids - “Adrenaline Nightshift”
Celebration Rock, the new album from the Vancouver-based duo Japandroids, is one of the most exciting and urgent records I’ve heard so far this year. This sense of urgency is brought to life by tracks like “Adrenaline Nightshift,” a song with enough energy coursing through its veins to genuinely merit such a grandiose title. I don’t think any song from 2012 (short of “The House That Heaven Built”, another Japandroids track) has made me want to scream and pump my fist as much as this track, and I’m perfectly okay with that. I’m excited to catch this band in July at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.